In a year with many changes on campus, Northwestern welcomes a new director of advancement. Kristin Rucks graduated from NW in 2003 and is surprised to be back on campus.
“I never thought I would be back in Orange City or at Northwestern,” Rucks said.
Rucks graduated with a sociology degree and then went on to work as an NW admissions counselor until 2006.
“The day I quit I thought, ‘This is the best place I’ll ever work and it’s a bummer I have to leave,’” Rucks said.
Rucks accepted the role of director of admissions and marketing for Presbyterian Homes and Services in Arden Hills, Minn. She then served as a marketing director for the food service provider Sodexo at St. Cloud State University. For the last five years, she worked as the community relations director for Heritage of Foley in Foley, Minn., a healthcare campus serving central Minnesota that offers a nursing center, adult day service program, senior apartments, assisted living, home care and rehabilitation.
Rucks was hired as the new director of advancement in January.
“We’re pleased to have Kristin back at NW,” said Jay Wielenga, vice president for advancement. “She has a successful history telling the NW story while serving in the admissions office, plus additional expertise in marketing and client relations. She will bring a fresh perspective to our team, and we look forward to her development as a leader within the advancement office.”
Rucks is excited for the position and the opportunity that comes along with it.
As director of advancement, Rucks is responsible for meeting with current and prospective donors and offering leadership to help NW achieve its annual fund, campaign and planned giving goals.
“Many of NW donors do see investing as a form of ministry,” Rucks said.
Rucks has had a number of meetings with donors already.
“It’s cool to hear where they come from and why they give,” Rucks said. “One thing that I love about my job is getting to know the donors on a donor base and even our current students so I can accurately tell the story of where we are right now.”
Rucks has noticed a contrast between the advancement office and admissions office. In admissions, counselors get to know the student for a year and then they have to move on to the next new wave.
“In advancement, you get to stay connected with whoever you work with for a long time,” Rucks said.
One of Ruck’s major goals is “to get newer grads and younger alum interested in philanthropy, specifically toward NW.”
Wielenga described advancement workers as storytellers.
“We tell stories of students and say ‘look at what these students are doing you are investing in those students,’” he said.
According to Wielenga, Rucks is great for the job because she has a very personal story to tell.
“She was a recruiter for three years, so she had the opportunity to share her story and encourage students to come here,” he said
Now Rucks gets the chance to use that story for a different audience to continue the betterment of NW.