Graceland University Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Kelly W. Everett ‘77, announced Kristi Hettrick ‘96 has joined the staff as Graceland University Senior Director of Development and serves as a field officer. Hettrick assumed her role in January and will oversee the annual #Grateful4Graceland Day of Giving on March 18, 2021.
She will oversee fundraising initiatives for both the Lamoni and Independence campuses and will be responsible for raising sustaining gifts for the Graceland Fund, which helps meet the needs for day-to-day operations of the university. Already, she has been instrumental in prioritizing and categorizing those needs into three categories: scholarships and student support, innovation and infrastructure, and learning and leadership.
Hettrick earned a Bachelor of Arts from Graceland in 1996 with majors in communications: English (writing) and international studies. She gives credit to Graceland’s general education (now essential education) and its foundation in humanities, literature and philosophy for helping her to develop a broad worldview and to become the critical thinker she is today.
Hettrick was a member of Shalom House and then served as the first house president of Khiyah House, a position she held for two years. She developed close relationships with her fellow students, as well as faculty members and administrators like Nancy and Jon Wallace, Barbara and Bob Mesle, Marian Killpack and Michele Dickey-Kotz. Today, Hettrick recognizes her connections to these people and the programs they led as hugely influential in helping shape the strengths-based leader and manager she is today.
After graduating from Graceland, Hettrick began her career in television marketing and sales, working at stations in Lincoln, Omaha, and Kansas City. While she felt it was valuable experience, Hettrick craved a deeper connection to community like she found at Graceland. So, she switched her focus to nonprofit management and philanthropy work. Hettrick worked for Community of Christ, then, as development director for Feeding America food banks, and most recently, she worked for The University of Kansas Health System in individual major gift fundraising.
While working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hettrick realized the community connections she valued in her healthcare career were changing. Then, during a visit to campus to drop off her daughter for school this fall, Hettrick saw the newly renovated Newcom Student Union for the first time.
“I was overcome with emotion at all the names I saw listed on the donor wall – on offices, conference rooms, and workspaces,” Hettrick shared. “I also could feel all the stories of all the people whose names were not readily visible, but who also made generous donations so that future students would have the same experience I did as a student. I knew that minute I wanted to be a part of whatever was coming next for Graceland.”
So, when a position opened in Graceland’s development office, Hettrick returned to “the Hill”. She’s excited to reconnect with the Graceland community, both in Kansas City, working with donors and alumni and on the Lamoni campus, working closely with students, faculty and staff.
Hettrick has two children currently attending Graceland: Casey Main, a junior, Shalom House President and recently elected to be the 2021-22 Graceland Student Government President and Jackson Main, a freshman involved with esports on Tiona House.
“As a Graceland parent, I am grateful to see the Graceland experience remains a priority to educators and administrators,” she said. “As a Graceland employee, I can tell you firsthand, The Power of Together is alive and well on the campus I’ve loved since I was a student.”