Our 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


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.


Timothy Pinnow

Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Operating Officer

Timothy Pinnow previously served as president of Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan. Prior to that experience, he worked at Colorado Mesa University as senior vice president for strategic initiatives in the Division of Academic Affairs, where he was responsible for creating eight new graduate and seven new online programs in five years while tripling the institution’s sponsored programs revenue. He began his academic career at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where he taught acting and musical theatre while administering an interdisciplinary fine arts major. He has an M.F.A. in theatre performance from the University of Florida, where he was awarded a Graduate Council Fellowship, and a B.A. in musical theatre and psychology from Luther College in Iowa. He was also elected Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.

Vickie Alleman

Vice President for Enrollment

Vickie Alleman leads the college’s student recruitment efforts and provides administrative oversight of the admissions and financial aid offices. Alleman joined Alma College’s leadership team in 2023 after serving in similar roles at Dominican University of California and the University of St. Thomas-Houston, as well as administrative positions in the fields of healthcare, hospital and medical device organizations. She has a B.A. in journalism from Louisiana State University.


Melinda Booth

Vice President for Communication and Marketing

Melinda Booth 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

Vice President for Student Affairs

Damon Brown 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.


Sean Burke

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Sean Burke serves as the senior academic administrator at Alma College, with oversight of more than 50 undergraduate and three graduate programs of study. He joined Alma’s leadership team in 2023 after 15 years of service at Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa, most recently as associate provost. Previously, Burke had served at Luther as associate dean and as head of the religion department. Burke has a doctoral degree in biblical studies from Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, California, a Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary, in Philadelphia, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College, in Bronxville, New York.

James Carman

Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance

James Carman 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.


Sarah Dehring

Vice President and Director of Athletics

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.


Bob Murray

Vice President for Advancement

Robert W. Murray 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, the Alma Fund, foundation relations, major and planned gifts, endowment and campaign initiatives, donor stewardship, and prospect research. Murray, a member of the Alma College Class of 1988, previously served Alma College’s Advancement Office for more than 22 years; first as director of planned giving and later as senior director of planned giving. He has also served in leadership roles at Ferris State University and Casual Simulation, a nonprofit organization based in Grand Rapids.


Kelley Peatross

Vice President for Human Resources

Kelley Peatross 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 was 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.