Development & Alumni Relations Staff
Meet the team responsible for making sure your gifts make the biggest impact.
Betsy Clardy, Vice President of Development & Alumni Relations
Betsy Clardy, CFRE joins TLU after 14 years of serving as the Vice President & Chief Development Officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB). Prior to her time at UTMB, Clardy served as the Vice President Development & Alumni Relations at TLU from 2001 to 2006, leading the largest-ever comprehensive campaign in TLU history at the time, raising more than $52 million. Clardy served as TLU Regent from 2019 to 2023. Her fundraising career started in 1994 at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as a Director of Development for Principal Gifts, a title she held for over seven years. Clardy holds a BA in Political Science from Texas Lutheran University where she served as student senator and president of Beta Alpha Sigma.
Jena McKinzie, Associate Vice President of Development & Alumni Relations
Jena has 14 years of nonprofit development experience, with the last eight years in higher education. Jena received her master’s degree in human services administration as well as a certificate in Nonprofit Management (CNP). Hailing from North Louisiana, Jena loves spending time with her family and daydreaming about their next road trip. Jena joined the TLU team during the height of the COVID pandemic, initially working with corporate and private foundations, governmental granting agencies and businesses before transitioning into her current role working with individual donors to secure university funding.
Kim Gannon, Director of Major Gifts
Kim has over 30 years of experience in Higher Education and Alumni Relations. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and has a background in fundraising, volunteer management, event planning and program management. Prior to joining TLU, she worked for Texas State University. Outside of work, Kim enjoys listening to live music, baking, playing with her animals and spending time with family. Kim works with alumni and friends in the Houston and San Antonio areas to increase engagement and secure giving.
Jason Derscheid, Director of Leadership Gifts
Jason is a graduate of Tulane University where he completed a self-designed major titled Music Industry Studies. After Hurricane Katrina, he returned to New Orleans and shortly thereafter began his nonprofit career and attended his first NFL game for the reopening of the Superdome making him a Saints fan forever, WHO DAT! He is an avid outdoorsman whose favorite places include Big Bend and the Boundary Waters.
Robert Burns, Associate Director of Development
Robert received a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Social Studies Education from Miami University. He has previous experience in development having worked for a wildlife rescue non-profit and a children’s mental health hospital. Prior to his experience in development, Robert served as an 8th grade history teacher and a baseball coach. He currently serves as the associate director of development where his main duties include engaging with alumni and prospective donors. Robert is married to Brittany and together they welcomed baby Claire in fall of 2022.
Fonda Mathis, Director of Development Services & Research
Fonda earned her bachelor’s degree at Southwest Texas State University. She started her career in the information technology field supporting software platforms for a variety of business applications. Eventually moving to a position in the development office, as Director of Development Services, she supports database management, advancement reporting, gift recording, data integrity, data security and research. Fonda enjoys volunteering and community service.
Theresa Cook Spiess '06, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations
A third generation Bulldog, Theresa has worked in the nonprofit and public relations fields since graduating from TLU with a Business degree in 2006. Her nonprofit development experience includes work at the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross Central and South Texas Region, and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Central Texas Chapter, which she helped launch. In her free time Theresa enjoys live music, cooking, singing, and teaching Sunday School with her church. She also enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband Chris and their two young children and two senior dogs. She enjoys discovering win/win scenarios with donors, whether through grant funding opportunities or corporate partnerships.
Jorge P. Jones, Director of Development Marketing
Jorge earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications from the University of the Incarnate Word. He has previous experience in development and alumni relations having worked at his alma mater for nearly five years. Prior to his time in higher education, he worked for NASCAR, Spurs Sports & Entertainment and Capital Insiders in Hispanic marketing, integrated marketing communications and digital media. Jorge’s primary responsibility is to manage the communications and marketing of TLU’s Development & Alumni Relations department.
Gaby Alvarado, Director of Alumni Relations
Gaby received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts and Master of Arts in Administration degree from the University of the Incarnate Word. Prior to joining TLU, she served as the Associate Director of UIW’s Department of Alumni & Parent Relations focusing on communications, activities and networks for the alumni and parent associations. In addition to her work in higher education, she has broad experience in event planning, volunteer organization, and non-profit management having worked at Silver & Black Give Back, the non-profit partner of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, and the San Antonio Zoological Society. In her current role at TLU, Gaby will lead the alumni association in reconnecting graduates to Texas Lutheran and providing resources and engagement opportunities throughout the year for our Bulldogs.
Katelyn Grun-Dovalina, Associate Director of Alumni Relations
Katelyn Grun-Dovalina earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2018 and her Master's in Education from UTSA in 2020. Katelyn's experience spans across many higher education areas including, student activities, facilities management, student union services, event center management, and residence life. In her current role, Katelyn dedicates her time engaging, providing resources, and coordinating events for alumni, students, parents and families.
Jereme Matthews '98, Director of Annual Giving
Jereme Matthews joined the Texas Lutheran staff in January of 2022 as the Director of Annual Giving. He is a proud alumnus of 1998. While at TLU, Jereme earned a bachelor's in Mathematics and Business Administration. Previously, Jereme worked in secondary education for 23 years as a mathematics teacher, coach, assistant principal, and associate principal. During this time, Jereme maintained his close connection to TLU and served on the alumni board. He is married to Courtney Erickson Matthews, 1999 alumni.
Valerie K. Wood '17, Associate Director of Annual Giving
Valerie Wood is a proud TLU Bulldog having earned her Bachelor's in Business Administration focused in Marketing in 2017. In addition, she completed her Master's in Science from the University of North Texas in Digital Communication Analytics in 2020. Her experience includes corporate communications, nonprofit marketing and fundraising. In her current role, Valerie assists in annual giving efforts by working with the Bulldog community to spread awareness on philanthropic opportunities to support students. In her free time, Valerie enjoys trail running and spending time with family.
Sharon Huffman Murphy '17, '18, Assistant Director of Development Services & Research
Sharon, a two-time alumna of TLU, earned her Bachelor's of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Marketing in 2017. A year later, she graduated with a Master's of Science in Data Analytics, becoming a member of the first graduating class in said program. Prior to joining TLU, she managed data for other nonprofits in the San Antonio area. In her current role, she is in charge of the department's prospect research as well as the portfolio, data, and budget management. Sharon enjoys reading and traveling with family in her free time.
Jennifer Coulter, Development Services Coordinator
Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and English with a minor in Psychology from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. She has extensive experience working in Federal, State, and City level governments, as well as, non-profit and private corporations such as the Office of Communication at Augustana College, US Army Corps of Engineers, John Deere Insurance, AMIKids, State of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the City of Seguin Fire EMS. In those roles, she has assisted with fundraising, grants, events and recruiting, training and supervising volunteers. She has also worked with adjudicated youth and helped many students get their high school diplomas or GED and later assisted them transitioning to college and trade schools. Jennifer strongly believes that education will change an individual’s life and has been an advocate for many first generation students from various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. In her current role as a development services coordinator, she is in charge of maintaining gift entry and tracking information, as well as, data entry and updating donations and relations information. Jennifer’s daughter, Emily, graduated from Texas Lutheran University. She and her husband Jim enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Carrie Hallmark, Development Events & Stewardship Coordinator
Carrie has worked at TLU for 12 years. Prior to joining the Development and Alumni Relations team, Carrie worked with Admissions and Financial Aid. She enjoys going to the beach, spending time with her family and watching her kids participate in sports. Her daughter Kayla is a Biochemistry major at TLU and a member of the TLU Goldstars dance team.
Barbette Wills, Gift Coordinator
Barbette has served as the Gift Processor/Data Coordinator for Development and Alumni Relations since 2007. She and her husband, Casey, have five children and eight grandchildren, and are known as Gigi and Papa. Their family farm is home to cattle, goats, chickens, nine dogs, and one cat. TLU has been a great blessing to the Wills family.