Advancement welcomes three talented individuals to its team

Three people standing together

With Homecoming 2021 just a few weeks away, Dr. Joshua Jacobs feels like the Advancement team at Marietta College is coming together at just the right time — and he is asking alumni who are back on campus during the festivities to make sure they meet with as many members of that team as possible.

In the past few weeks, Jacobs and the College have welcomed three talented individuals who will play a key role in shaping Marietta’s future through fundraising and alumni engagement.

The two newest members are Dr. Erika Smith and Bethany McFarland Leslie ’12 and both are excited to fill important leadership roles. Smith is the Director of Alumni Relations and Engagement, while Leslie is the Director of Major Gifts. Joining them is Evan Brockmeier ’13 who transitioned from another role on campus to be a Gift Officer.

“All of our new staff members bring valuable skills and experience to our team and to Marietta College’s Office of Advancement,” said Jacobs, Marietta College’s Vice President for Advancement. “Their work will advance our goal of providing services, programs, events and stewardship that allow us to facilitate a lifetime relationship between the College and its alumni, students and friends.”

Following a decade of fundraising and other development experience — mostly in higher education — Leslie is excited to be back at her alma mater.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be joining the team at Marietta College,” Leslie said. “MC is where I developed my love for service, and the McDonough Leadership Program inspired in me a desire to ‘give back the gift.’ Thanks to a great educational foundation, my career has afforded me lots of amazing experiences to make an impact over the years. And now, getting to do what I love in service to my alma mater? It’s a dream come true.”

Since 2016, Leslie worked at the University of Mount Union as the Director of The Mount Union Fund. In March 2020, she added the role of Director of Planned Giving. At Marietta, Leslie will manage a portfolio of major gift donors, while leading the College’s other gift officers to help identify and research potential donors while helping to align a prospect’s passion with opportunities at Marietta.   

“I’m most looking forward to reconnecting with the Marietta College family and to meeting alumni of all generations and backgrounds. Hearing their unique stories and helping connect our Pioneers back to MC is the most meaningful part of what I do,” said Leslie, who is married to Mykal Leslie ’11. They have a 1-year-old son, Finn. “Additionally, I’m energized and inspired by the incredible forward momentum of the College’s leadership. There are so many big, exciting things in MC’s future, and getting to be a part of this moment in history is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Smith joined the College in early September and has enjoyed the “warm, family-like atmosphere on campus.”

In her role as the Director of Alumni Relations and Engagement, Smith works with dedicated alumni from around the country.

“Their enthusiasm and commitment are energizing,” she said. “Our Alumni Relations team looks forward to reconnecting and renewing our relationships, to engaging alumni in the exciting work of students and faculty across campus.”

Smith is focused on welcoming alumni back to Marietta during Homecoming 2021 on October 21st through October 24th.

“This is a particularly exciting time to join the Advancement Team at Marietta College,” Smith said. “President Ruud has an inspiring vision for the future of the College and what it means to participate in a contemporary liberal arts education.”

For the past seven years, Smith was an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Business at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts. She also has a book coming in May 2022, Service Above Self: Women Veterans in American Politics (University of Kansas Press).

“As a former faculty member, I see my new role as an extension of the institutional mission to advance liberal arts education and support our students,” Smith said. “Ultimately, whether we are working in the classroom, on the field, or behind a desk, we all support Pioneers — past, present, and future.”

Smith and her husband, Andrew, have two daughters, Sophie and Phoebe.

Brockmeier, who worked for seven years with Chevron Corp. as a Drill Site Manager and Drilling Engineer in Bakersfield, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, joined the College in 2019 as a member of the grounds crew. When the opportunity to join the Advancement team presented itself, Brockmeier was ready for the challenge.

“Right now truly feels like a transformational time at Marietta College with an incredible amount of momentum and energy,” he said. “Everywhere you look — from academic programs growing and evolving, to athletics development and team success, to the vision for the future of the College — there are projects happening that will impact MC and enhance the student experience for decades to come.”

Brockmeier has just recently started meeting with alumni and he is excited to connect with more at Homecoming.

“I’ve always sought a role that has a vision for being on the leading-edge, pursues bold and compelling projects and makes a contribution to a grander mission,” said Brockmeier, who is also a Volunteer Assistant Baseball Coach with the Etta Express. “The Advancement Gift Officer role provides it all.”

He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Brockmeier and his wife, Alyson, have two children, Nora and Owen, and they are expecting their third child soon.

“I couldn’t be more fortunate to be here at this time, with this group of people, and have this picture to paint for alumni and friends of Marietta College,” he said.

To support Marietta College’s fundraising initiatives, contact the Office of Advancement at (740) 376-4711.