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Jackson leads Augustana to campaign success

May  03, 2012

Lynn E. Jackson

Lynn E. Jackson took an unusual path to her position as vice president of advancement at Augustana College. After getting her start at a community college, then spending several years in the banking industry, she became a trailblazing fund-raiser. Most recently, Jackson led Augustana to surpass its campaign fund-raising goal by more than $52 million.

Jackson's path began in the cereal capital of the world, Battle Creek, Mich. A central Michigan native, she attended community college after high school. As a non-traditional student, she later went on to Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, to earn a bachelor's degree in public administration. She graduated with honors and began a career in commercial banking.

After 10 years in banking, she made a shift and began working in higher education. Jackson went to work at Kalamazoo College in 1991. She moved through ranks at Kalamazoo, becoming executive director of development in 2003. While there, Jackson was instrumental in completing the largest campaign in the college's history.

In 2005, she moved to Williamsport, Pa., to become vice president for college advancement at Lycoming College, and then in February 2009, Jackson took over the reins of the Authentically Augustana: A Call to Action campaign. At that point, economic times were tough, other colleges were postponing fund-raising plans, and many believed the Augustana campaign had nearly topped out.

Self-described as "passionate" about her work, Jackson hit the ground running. She quickly set out to know the college's key stakeholders — alumni, foundations, corporations and other friends. She developed a base knowledge of Augustana, its structure and systems, and she reorganized the college's 23-person advancement office.

Since her first days on campus, Jackson has worked closely with Augustana President Steven Bahls. She says it's thanks to his vision and the tireless efforts of a dedicated advancement staff that the college can proudly boast the largest campaign in Quad-Cities' history. 

President Bahls is quick to return the kind words, saying Jackson is "critical to our success," and describing her as "hard working, determined, committed, professional and driven."

"We wouldn't be where we are without her," he added.

Proud of her professional accomplishments at Augustana, Jackson also is delighted to personally have contributed to the campaign. She and her husband Larry are philanthropists — or "happy givers," in her terms — and the couple set up an endowed scholarship to benefit Augustana students. Each year English majors will enjoy the benefits of the Jackson's personal philanthropic philosophy.

"I have had a lot of people in my life I've been blessed to know personally and professionally," Jackson said. "I've taken a lot of cues from a lot of different people — some of which has impacted by decisions profoundly."

Known as a mentor to the next generation of professionals, she continued, "I hope that I've been able to give back some of what was given to me."

 Jackson can see clearly how the path she's taken impacts others, whether through her work or her personal giving. "I hope what I've been able to do here will make a difference for the college, for the staff, and most importantly, for Augustana students for many, many years to come."

Sam Schlouch
Director, Public Relations and Arts Promotion
(309) 794-7833
samschlouch@augustana.edu