Mission, Strategy, and Innovation

Vice President

Katherine (Kathi) Tunheim has enjoyed a 35-year distinguished career as a corporate leader, entrepreneur, professor and currently serves as the Vice President for Mission, Strategy and Innovation at Gustavus. She is also the Acting Director of Human Resources. In her role, Kathi is responsible for leading the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, National Advisory Boards, Gustavus Women in Leadership, Office of Human Resources and serves as an external relations ambassador for the College.

Kathi joined Gustavus in 2007 as an Associate Professor in the Economics and Management Department. In 2012, she was awarded both tenure and the Board of Trustees Endowed Chair of Management and Leadership. In August of 2016, Kathi began serving as the Special Assistant to the President, leading the implementation of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan. She is the co-founder of three significant programs at Gustavus: Gustavus Women in Leadership, the Gustavus Entrepreneur Cup and the Gustavus Mentoring Program.

Born in South Dakota, she spent her formative years in Orange City, IA, and Walker, MN. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, in 1982 with majors in Spanish and Speech Communication. After graduation, Kathi earned her master’s degree in Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She worked at three Fortune 500 corporations in various leadership development and organizational effectiveness roles: Northwest Airlines (now Delta Airlines), Carlson Travel Group (now Carlson Wagonlit Travel) and American Express Financial Advisors (now Ameriprise Financial). Kathi also founded Tunheim Leadership Group, a consulting firm where she worked in the areas of leadership development and organizational effectiveness with clients such as Medtronic, American Express, Carlson Companies, Cargill, Dorsey and Whitney and Briggs and Morgan. Her college clients included: Luther College, Concordia College-Moorhead, Roanoke College, Midland Lutheran University and Gustavus Adolphus College. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Human Resource Development in 2008.

Kathi was recently honored to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award at the University of Minnesota in the College of Education and Human Development. Kathi currently serves on the boards of Lutheran World Relief and Thrivent Financial in the Central Region and is the President of Trinity Lutheran Church in Long Lake/Orono. Kathi and her husband Bob are parents to Rob, Amie and Kristie. Her two oldest are St. Olaf grads and her youngest is a proud Gustie!