Diane Mendenhall, executive director of the Nebraska Alumni Association, will become Associate Athletic Director for Development and Ticket Operations in the Department of Athletics, said Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm.
Mendenhall, who will begin her new role Aug. 27, will report to Boehm and assist him in several areas. Mendenhall returns to athletics after a six-year tenure leading the 25,000-member alumni association.
In her new role, Mendenhall will manage the daily operations of the development and ticket offices, which include the annual fund, suites and premium seating, donor events and parking, ticket operations and assisting with Alumni Association and University of Nebraska Foundation relations. Boehm will continue to directly manage and oversee the development office major gift officers and initiatives.
“We are thrilled to have Diane return to athletics to oversee our development and ticket office daily operations,” Boehm said. “She is a very talented, experienced and respected administrator who will be a great addition to our team. In her previous role in athletics and most recently as the executive director of the alumni association, Diane has fostered and maintained relationships with Husker fans and UNL alumni across Nebraska, the country and abroad.”
“I have always treasured my relationships with Nebraska athletics staff, student-athletes and donors,” Mendenhall said. “I’m excited to work with some familiar faces, and to build new relationships. Competing as a student-athlete in college was instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today. I am extremely appreciative to Shawn Eichorst and Marc Boehm for giving me the opportunity to return to athletics and help support the Husker student-athlete experience while continuing to advance the mission of the university.”
As executive alumni director, Mendenhall worked closely with the university administration, athletic department, the NU Foundation, campus community and alumni chapters to encourage the active participation of alumni and friends with the university.
Under Mendenhall’s leadership, the NAA adopted a university-focused mission and increased collaboration across campus and in the community. Since 2008, the NAA grew lifetime membership to an all-time high; expanded the chapters and groups program from 59 to nearly 90; increased Scarlet Guard (student alumni) from fewer than 100 to more than 1,400; increased outreach to alumni through several communications initiatives, including redesigns of Nebraska Magazine, Good NUz, and huskeralum.org; introduced new programs to connect and serve alumni, including alumni career services, Football Fridays and the Young Alumni Academy; and launched the Nebraska Legends Scholarship Program to help recruit more than 600 students to attend UNL in the first three years of the program.
The NAA also strengthened its financial position. Total assets grew by more than 38 percent. About $3 million was invested in the Wick Alumni Center and the Nebraska Champions Club.
“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to lead the Nebraska Alumni Association, and stepping away is the toughest career decision I’ve made,” Mendenhall said. “I came to the NAA because I believed we could help advance the University of Nebraska-Lincoln by strengthening our alumni community and establishing new campus collaborations. Six years later, our team has accomplished everything I dreamed we would, and more. The vision and support of Chancellor Perlman, the NU Foundation and the NAA Executive Board has been instrumental in the success we have achieved in such a short amount of time. I leave knowing the NAA has the best staff, and the best alumni programs and initiatives, of any association this size in the country.”
“The Executive Board of the Nebraska Alumni Association could not be happier for Diane Mendenhall,” said Bill Mueller, President of NAA’s board of directors. “She is an excellent leader who has served the Association with distinction. The Alumni Association is an invaluable partner with the University thanks to the work of Diane and the staff that she has assembled. We are all pleased that Diane will continue her service to the University of Nebraska.”
In 2000, Mendenhall joined Athletics as director of operations for Nebraska volleyball. In 2004, she was named associate director of development and later was promoted to assistant athletic director for development. Promoted again in 2006, Mendenhall was named assistant athletic director for development and ticketing as she successfully blended the operation of two departments, responsible for nearly 70 percent of the athletic department budget.
Mendenhall earned a bachelor of science in education from the University of Kansas in 1981, where she lettered in volleyball, was team captain and was collegiate representative to the KU Athletic Council.
The alumni association will continue to work closely with athletics, co-sponsoring pregame football huddles and cross-promoting events and services. Shelley Zaborowski will serve as interim executive director. Zaborowski, a two-time UNL graduate, has been with NAA for 18 years and has been associate executive director since 2008.
The NAA Board of Directors, led by Mueller, will conduct the search for a new executive director. Mendenhall’s last day with the association is Aug. 26.