Dr. Kathi Tunheim Named Vice President For Mission, Strategy, and InnovationIn the new role, Tunheim will lead execution of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, grow external partnerships, and advance the mission of the College.
Posted on December 11th, 2018 by

Dr. Kathi Tunheim has been named the Vice President for Mission, Strategy, and Innovation at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Dr. Kathi Tunheim has been named the inaugural Vice President for Mission, Strategy, and Innovation at Gustavus Adolphus College, President Rebecca M. Bergman announced today.

In the newly created role on the President’s Cabinet, Tunheim will be responsible for leading the execution of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, managing the College’s National Advisory Boards and Gustavus Women in Leadership group, leading the human resources department, and growing external partnerships that advance the Gustavus mission. She will assume the duties of the position on January 1, 2019.

“Pairing strategy and innovation with the College’s mission-centered work is a natural fit as Gustavus continues to grow in excellence, reach, and reputation,” Bergman said. “Dr. Tunheim’s unique skillset and background in strategic planning, organizational leadership, and vocation align perfectly with the College’s vision to equip students to lead purposeful lives and to act on the great challenges of our time through an innovative liberal arts education of recognized excellence.”

Dr. Kathi Tunheim

A member of the Gustavus faculty since 2007, Tunheim has served as the Special Assistant to the President for Strategy since June 2016 in addition to teaching courses in the economics and management department. During her tenure at Gustavus, she developed the Gustavus Women in Leadership group, founded the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup, and was a driving force behind the expansion of the Gustavus Mentoring Program. An expert on leadership, management, and vocation with a particular emphasis on ELCA colleges and universities, Tunheim is a sought-after speaker and consultant in the areas of organizational behavior, leadership development, and strategy.

“I am honored to serve in this inaugural role,” said Tunheim, who will transition to the senior leadership position from her role as the Board of Trustees Endowed Chair in Management and Leadership. “The Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan has strong momentum thanks to our president, board, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni. I look forward to working with President Bergman, the cabinet, and everyone engaged in advancing our institution’s mission, vision, and strategies for the benefit of our talented students.”

Prior to her time at Gustavus, Tunheim enjoyed a 25-year corporate career managing training and development for Northwest Airlines and the Carlson Travel Group, serving as director of leadership development at American Express Financial Advisors, and running her own consulting firm, Tunheim Leadership Group.

She is a board member of Lutheran World Relief International, the Thrivent Fellows Member Network Central Region, and the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce. Tunheim holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College, a master’s in communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a doctorate in Work and Human Resource Education from the University of Minnesota. She and her husband, Bob, live in Orono, Minn. They have three adult children.

“Dr. Tunheim is a creative thinker and an entrepreneurial leader with a strong record of building relationships and delivering results,” Bergman said. “Her mission-driven work in this role will continue to drive Gustavus boldly into the future.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


One Comment

  1. Elissa Graupmann says:

    Congrats Kathi! You are invaluable to Gustavus and I cannot wait to see all the things you will accomplish in this new role.