College Leadership

Our first goal is to enhance the value of the Alma student experience. We believe that in general this is achieved by strengthening the community of faculty and staff who support our students’ growth. While we will make difficult choices and take appropriate risks, in all cases we will act with integrity and deep respect for the college community.

  • Jeff Abernathy headshot for Alma College.
    Reid-Knox Administration Building
    (989) 463-7146

    Jeff Abernathy, Alma College’s 13th president, arrived on campus in June 2010 with a strong commitment to the values of a liberal arts education — values that celebrate student achievement, excellent teaching, service and citizenship. Abernathy served as vice president and dean of Augustana College from 2004 until his appointment at Alma. He joined Augustana after serving West Virginia Wesleyan College as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, prior to which he was a faculty member in English at Illinois College, where he also served as associate dean. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Abernathy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Longwood College. He earned a master’s degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Ph.D. in American literature from the University of Florida.

  • Reid-Knox Administration Building
    (989) 463-7147

    Raymond Barclay, chief operating officer (COO) and senior vice president, works collaboratively across campus sectors to allocate resources and manage day-to-day operations of the college. He is responsible for many aspects of the college’s business operations, including facilities, information technology, admissions and non-traditional revenue generation. He also focuses on strategic matters of the college’s operation, including student recruitment and retention, financial analysis, debt structure and capital projects. He joined Alma’s leadership team in March 2022 after serving as chief planning officer at Albion College. Prior to joining Albion, he served as president of Enrollment x Design LLC, an enrollment and academic planning consulting firm in Princeton, N.J., which he founded in 2017. He has also served in various capacities at the New School in New York City, Stetson University, the College of Charleston, the University of North Carolina system, the College of New Jersey and Burlington County (N.J.) Community College. Barclay received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then obtained a master’s in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a master’s in sustainable design from the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He earned his Ph.D. in educational psychology at Temple University.

  • Communication and Marketing Office
    (989) 463-7976

    Melinda Booth, vice president for communication and marketing, oversees marketing efforts for Alma College, including public relations, graphic design, web, digital and social media. She collaborates with campus colleagues and external partners in the planning, coordination and production of marketing initiatives; acts as steward of the college brand; is responsible for assuring consistent and appropriate use of the college’s graphic standards; and determines the best media and distribution approaches to convey Alma’s key messages. She graduated from Alma College in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and later went on to receive a master’s degree from Oakland University before returning to her alma mater in 2015.

  • Damon Brown headshot
    Tyler VanDusen Campus Center
    (989) 463-7151

    Damon Brown, vice president for student affairs, oversees a broad administrative portfolio that includes residence life, career and personal development, academic support and tutoring, disability support and services, and student health, wellness and counseling services. He joined Alma’s leadership team in September 2020, after 23 years of student affairs experience, most recently as the director of the Office of Student Activities and Involvement at Central Michigan University (CMU). Brown holds a master’s degree in sports administration from CMU, as well as two bachelor’s degrees from Ohio University.

  • Hamilton Commons, Lower Level
    (989) 463-7998
    James Carman, chief financial officer, is responsible for all aspects of the college’s finances with oversight of the operating and capital budgets. He joined Alma’s leadership team in 2021 after more than 20 years of work in the private sector, most recently at XALT Energy, where he served as vice president of finance. Carman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and accounting from Olivet College.

  • Hogan Center
    (989) 463-7783

    Sarah Dehring,Vice President and Director of Athletics, is responsible for the overall development and management of Alma’s NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics program, which encompasses 30 sports — 12 men’s NCAA and 12 women’s NCAA, plus co-ed esports and women’s bowling, competitive cheer, dance, and STUNT. Dehring joined Alma College in 2011 as head volleyball coach before moving into roles as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, then interim athletic director. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Ferris State University and a Master of Arts degree in counseling from Lakeland College.

  • Centennial House
    (989) 463-7255

    Kelley Peatross, associate vice president for human resources and deputy Title IV coordinator, is responsible for developing strategies related to employee engagement, well-being, satisfaction, organizational development, talent acquisition, professional development and total rewards. Peatross is also responsible for international employee visa processing functions at Alma College, and the overall administration and coordination of the civil rights, Title IX and sexual harassment policies, and to ensure gender equity in all programs and activities. Peatross joined Alma College’s leadership team in September 2022 after serving in various roles at the Great Lakes Bay Region of Consumers Energy, including director of community and public affairs. Prior to coming to Consumers, Peatross worked at Saginaw Public Schools, where she served as assistant superintendent for human resources, labor relations and support services, as well as interim superintendent/chief executive officer. Peatross earned a Ph.D. in education administration and leadership and an M.A. in educational leadership and human resources, both from Western Michigan University. She has a B.A. in human resources and psychology from Spring Arbor University.

  • Hood Building
    (989) 463-7614

    Scott Wills, vice president for advancement, heads an advancement staff charged with leading efforts to build, enhance, and steward the relationships and partnerships in support of Alma College’s mission. The advancement function includes responsibility for alumni and parent engagement, annual giving, foundation relations, major and planned gifts, endowment and campaign initiatives, donor stewardship, and advancement services. Wills joined Alma College’s leadership team in February 2022 after serving as assistant vice president of advancement at Ohio Northern University, where he worked for two decades in various advancement capacities of increasing leadership. He also served as women’s tennis coach at Ohio Northern. Prior to his move to higher education, Wills had a successful 15-year career in the private sector at American Electric Power, where he held positions in marketing, public relations, and new product development. While at AEP, he was an adjunct business faculty member at Franklin University. Wills has an MBA from Ashland University and bachelors degree in marketing and management in addition to a secondary teaching certification.