Josh Christianson Named Executive Director of University Advancement

Bemidji State University President Faith C. Hensrud today announced that Josh Christianson will be BSU’s next executive director of university advancement.

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“I’m excited that Josh has agreed to become the next executive director of university advancement, where he will provide leadership for BSU Alumni & Foundation,” Hensrud said. “He is a respected professional with a deep understanding of what is needed to cultivate relationships with friends, donors and alumni. He values collaboration and strategic planning, and he has experience with all aspects of development and alumni relations.”

Christianson comes to BSU from the University of North Dakota, where he is director of development and alumni relations at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

In that role, Christianson has developed long- and short-range plans to strengthen the school’s major gifts program and oversaw the school’s overall development and alumni relations activities.

“I’m excited about this position because it is a great opportunity to guide the BSU Alumni & Foundation as we build support for Bemidji State University’s second century,” Christianson said. “I was impressed by the dynamic people I met during the interview process and their commitment to and affinity for BSU. I look forward to working with Dr. Hensrud and her team, and the BSU Alumni & Foundation staff and Board of Directors.”

Previously, Christianson has served as director of development for the UND Aerospace Foundation, as a development officer for the University of North Dakota Foundation and as executive director of the Northland Community and Technical College Foundation.

Christianson has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of North Dakota.

Christianson’s duties at BSU begin May 14. He will succeed Marla Patrias, who is retiring in June after working with BSU Alumni & Foundation in a variety of roles for 20 years. She was named executive director in June 2016 and previously held positions as chief administrative officer, chief development officer, director of alumni relations and director of major gifts & planned giving.

“I am most grateful for the commitment to BSU and the Alumni & Foundation that Marla has shown over the years, but most recently for her exceptional service in the position of executive director,” Hensrud said.

Bemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding.