Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor welcomes Jennifer J. Benanti as its new Vice President of Advancement.

Benanti brings more than a dozen years of experience overseeing advancement and development operations for organizations in the higher education, health care, arts, and nonprofit realms. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Cancer Initiatives on behalf of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and, before that, as Vice President of Foundation Development for Advocate Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. Earlier in her career, she held the position of Director of Development for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Illinois, Benanti had her career start in Springfield. The Concordia position presents an opportunity for her to return to her Midwestern roots and join a faith-focused work community.

“Concordia’s mission was a draw for me,” says Benanti. “We’re putting people back into the world and into our communities who will do Christ’s work. I hope to uncover new opportunities for our Office of Advancement and reimagine what fundraising looks like so that Concordia can continue this important mission well into the future.”

Benanti’s blend of professional experiences aligns with some of Concordia’s core strengths. With three of CUW’s six academic schools devoted to health-care disciplines, a healthy percentage of CUW’s total student population is comprised of students majoring in health-related fields. CUW offers degrees for some of the health care industry’s most in-demand jobs, including nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, social work, athletic training, and pharmacy. At the undergraduate level, nursing holds the largest enrollment of any single degree program at Concordia, followed closely by rehabilitation science, the undergraduate precursor program to either the physical therapy or occupational therapy tracks.    

A liberal arts university, Concordia has long held held arts in esteem as well. Each year, hundreds of students representing upwards of 45 different areas of study choose to participate in fine arts extra-curriculars, including choir, orchestra, band, handbells, and theatre.

Concordia’s Advancement team comprises the university’s fundraising and alumni operations. As a non-profit institution, the university depends on the support of generous donors to help offset tuition and operational costs to achieve its mission of preparing students to develop in mind, body, and spirit for service to Christ in the Church and the world. 

In her free time, Benanti enjoys spending time with her dog. She’s an avid reader and a college basketball fan. She is recently widowed. Her late husband passed in December 2023 following a medical complication to his recent cancer diagnosis. She says she looks forward to joining a supportive community for this next chapter of her life.  

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Faith is put into action every day at Concordia. Our mission is advanced every time someone volunteers to work alongside our students as a mentor or helper on a service project. Our mission is advanced every time a young person is encouraged to consider Concordia as their university. Our mission is advanced every time a prayer is lifted up for God’s continued blessings. And, of course, our mission is advanced every time we receive a gift of any size from generous alumni and friends. Please join us, in whatever way you can, as we pursue this good work together.