About

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, 13th president of Alma College
    Reid-Knox Administration Building
    (989) 463-7146
    abernathyj@alma.edu

    Jeff Abernathy is Alma College’s 13th president. An English professor, he has a long-term commitment to the core values of a liberal arts education. Prior to coming to Alma, Dr. Abernathy served as vice president and dean of Augustana College from 2004-2010. Dr. Abernathy’s primary area of study is African -American literature. He is author of To Hell and Back: Race and Betrayal in the Southern Novel


  • Damon Brown Headshot
    Tyler VanDusen Campus Center
    (989) 463-7151
    browndm@alma.edu

    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 has a master’s degree in sports administration from CMU, as well as two bachelor’s degrees from Ohio University.


  • Kathleen Dougherty
    Swanson Academic Center
    (989) 463-7176
    doughertyka@alma.edu

    Kathleen Dougherty, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, serves as the chief academic administrator at Alma College with oversight of all academic programs. She leads efforts to ensure the quality of the faculty and student body by providing leadership in matters related to instruction, faculty support and recognition, library, academic support services, the registrar’s office and Presidential Honors Program. Dougherty has doctoral and master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Olaf College. Her academic specialty focuses on contemporary virtue ethics and the development of moral character.


  • Alan Gatlin
    Reid-Knox Administration Building
    (989) 463-7143
    gatlina@alma.edu

    Alan Gatlin, senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO), works collaboratively across campus sectors to allocate resources and manage day-to-day operations. He is responsible for many aspects of the college’s business operations, including facilities, information technology, food service 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 June 2017 after 30 years in finance and management positions, including 12 years as a corporate CEO and 18 years of accounting and finance experience in public accounting and private organizations. He has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Murray State University.


  • Amanda Slenski
    Reid-Knox Administration Building
    (989) 463-7452
    slenskiar@alma.edu

    Amanda Slenski was appointed vice president for admissions in June 2018. She leads the college’s strategic recruiting initiatives and works closely with colleagues across the campus. Slenski also serves as Special Assistant to the President. Slenski’s work in this role began in 2019. She oversees the President’s Office operations, strategic planning and goal setting for the college, and leads campus-wide and collaborative initiatives.


  • Jeffrey Swears
    Hamilton Commons, Lower Level
    (989) 463-7144
    swearsjw@alma.edu

    Jeffrey Swears, Alma’s chief financial officer (CFO), 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 2018 after more than 25 years as a senior financial manager with Dow Corning Corp. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Alma College and an MSBA in finance from Boston University.


  • Matt vandenBerg
    Hood Building
    (989) 463-7081
    vandenbergmp@alma.edu

    Matt vandenBerg, Alma’s vice president for advancement and external relations, leads a team responsible for the college’s constituent engagement and fundraising programs, including major and planned gifts, annual giving, corporate and foundation partnerships, alumni and parent initiatives, donor relations and stewardship, advancement services, government relations, and community partnerships. Under Matt’s leadership, Alma has completed the five largest years for philanthropic support in its history, built the largest constituent engagement program among U.S. liberal arts colleges, and earned 13 international and regional awards from CASE, including the 2019 Platinum Award for Best Practices in Alumni Relations. Previously, Matt served in a variety of advancement leadership roles and as a legislative assistant for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. A summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Alma College, Matt earned a master of public affairs degree from Indiana University and a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation on donor influence received CASE’s 2019 John Grenzebach Award for Outstanding Research in Philanthropy for Educational Advancement.