The Community is Invited to Meet the Finalists for the Next BSU Alumni and Foundation Executive Director
May 26, 2016 — Members of the Bemidji community are invited to meet three finalists seeking to be the next executive director of Bemidji State University Alumni and Foundation at open forums on May 31 and June 2.
The finalists are **Josh Christianson**, director of alumni relations and development at the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences; **Marla Patrias**, chief development officer, prospect research and management and administrative officer for the BSU Alumni & Foundation; and **Michael Meyer**, associate vice president for university advancement at California Baptist University in Riverside, Calif.
All forums will be held in the Crying Wolf Room in Bemidji State University’s lower Hobson Memorial Union.
* Josh Christianson: May 31, 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
* Marla Patrias: May 31, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
* Michael Meyer: June 2, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Josh Christianson has been director of alumni relations and development at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at his alma mater, the University of North Dakota, since 2013. Prior to that role, he spent nearly eight years as director of development for the UND Aerospace Foundation and four years as a development officer for the University of North Dakota Foundation. He also has served as executive director of the Northland Community and Technical College Foundation.
Christiansen has a bachelor of arts degree in communications from the University of North Dakota.
Marla Patrias has been with BSU Alumni and Foundation for more than 15 years. She began her tenure in 1997 as director of major gifts and planned giving before becoming director of alumni relations, a position she held for 11 years. In 2012, she was named chief development officer, prospect research and management and administrative officer.
Before joining BSU Alumni & Foundation, Patrias had a lengthy career working in Alaska politics, first as special assistant to the mayor and legislative liaison in Soldotna, Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Borough and later as director of external relations for the state’s Office of the Governor. In 1994, she managed the successful gubernatorial campaign for Tony Knowles, Alaska’s seventh governor from 1994-2002.
Patrias has a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Oregon State University.
Michael Meyer has been associate vice president for university advancement at California Baptist University since 2012. Prior to that, he spent seven years as director of advancement and alumni relations for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Dakota and three years as director of development and alumni relations at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.
He also has served as director of development for the Grand Forks, N.D., Special Olympics, as director of athletic marketing at the University of New Mexico, and assistant athletic director for marketing and communications at the University of North Dakota.
Meyer has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from the University of North Dakota.
The finalists are vying to succeed Rob Bollinger, who announced this spring he is retiring after a 10-year run as BSU Alumni & Foundation executive director. Bollinger has been the catalyst for many initiatives and special events that have become fixtures for the university and the community at large. Among them are Community Appreciation Day, which attracts hundreds of Bemidji-area residents to campus for information, food and entertainment; the Scholarship Appreciation Breakfast, which honors scholarship recipients and donors; the Alumni B-Club, which promotes affinity and fundraising among BSU’s alumni athletes; and the biannual Green & White Dinner and Auction for BSU Athletics. Bollinger’s June 30 retirement will coincide with the conclusion of BSU’s Imagine Tomorrow campaign, a five-year endeavor which has surpassed its initial goal to raise $35 million to support academics and scholarships at the university.