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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 28, 2014

Northwest adds Rathje, Craft to University Advancement team

Dr. Lonelle Rathje

Dr. Lonelle Rathje

Mitzi Craft

Mitzi Craft

Northwest Missouri State University’s Office of University Advancement today announced two appointments to bolster its team as the University moves toward a planned comprehensive campaign and works to enhance its corporate partnerships.

Dr. Lonelle Rathje has accepted the role of director of development and campaign coordinator while Mitzi Craft becomes director of corporate and foundation relations, Mike Johnson, Northwest’s Vice President of University Advancement, announced. The appointments are effective Monday, March 3.

Northwest’s Board of Regents recently gave the Northwest Foundation approval to add the two development positions, in preparation for a comprehensive campaign.

Rathje will lead the direction, planning and execution of fundraising and development related activities for Northwest, looking at overall strategic development. Craft will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategy to enhance the University’s relationships with private corporations and foundations while growing philanthropic support. Both will serve as members of the University Advancement management team, reporting directly to Johnson.

“These are two individuals who are incredibly talented, understand the culture and are both really excited about the opportunity that lies ahead,” Johnson said. “The University is preparing to get to the starting line of our campaign, and these hires will greatly assist us toward success. They will help us align University priorities, address opportunities and gaps, and cultivate partnerships to secure private philanthropy.”

Rathje returns to Northwest from Brownell-Talbot College Preparatory School in Omaha, Neb., where she established and led the Office of Institutional Advancement, including the departments of admissions, financial aid, marketing, constituent relations, development and advancement operations. In that role, Rathje’s team achieved record enrollment, retention and fundraising, as well as led the school’s year-long 150th anniversary celebration.

Rathje has 15 years of experience in higher education administration as well as service as an English faculty member, holding advancement leadership and faculty positions with Metropolitan Community College, Kaplan University, University of Phoenix, Doane College and The University of Arizona.

From 1998 to 2006, Rathje was director of development at Northwest. Among a wide array of duties within the Office of University Advancement, Rathje was a member of the leadership team that implemented strategies to launch and successfully conclude Northwest’s first comprehensive campaign, which doubled its goal of raising $21 million for the University.

Rathje is a Northwest alumna, having earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in English from the University. She has a doctorate degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“I am honored to partner with my alma mater as we embark on the next chapter in the livelihood of Northwest,” Rathje said. “As a first-generation college graduate, I am quite aware of Northwest’s impressive focus on student success. It’s exciting to again live this mission while partnering with the incredible talent that is Northwest Missouri State University.”

Craft transitions to her new role after serving Northwest’s Office of University Relations since 2010, first as chief public relations officer and most recently as vice president of university relations. She led a team responsible for public relations, media relations, marketing, design, event planning, web services, social media, photography and videography as well as Northwest’s 100,000-watt National Public Radio affiliate KXCV-KRNW. Additionally, she was editor of the award-winning Northwest Alumni Magazine and served on the Northwest Leadership Team.

During a total of 15 years at Northwest, Craft also has filled the roles of director of advancement communications in the Office of University Advancement as well as director of information and marketing and communications assistant in the Office of University Relations. She also was an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Communication and Mass Media.

Prior to joining Northwest, Craft was community development and special projects coordinator for the Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments. She also has a background in journalism and advertising.

In addition, Craft has been active in the Maryville community, serving in board positions for the Maryville Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nodaway County, the Children and Family Center of Northwest Missouri, and the American Association of University Women.

Craft is a Northwest alumna, having earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations with a business and advertising emphasis and a master’s degree in higher education leadership.

“It’s an honor for me to continue to serve Northwest in this new position,” Craft said. “I believe my past experience within the offices of University Advancement and University Relations and my understanding of the University’s short-term and long-term needs will be advantageous as Northwest embarks on the upcoming comprehensive campaign. There’s a great team already in place, including members of the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors, and it’s a privilege to be a part of this exciting time for Northwest.”

The Northwest Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, is responsible for receiving, investing, stewarding and disbursing private support on behalf of the donors of Northwest for the benefit of the University, its students, faculty, staff and alumni. The Northwest Foundation is governed by a 30-member volunteer board of directors and staffed by members of Northwest’s Office of University Advancement.

For more information about the Northwest Foundation or to make a gift to support Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468