Karen Kuhn New Assistant Vice President for Development

Karen Kuhn

By Brian Kleemann

Karen Kuhn was recently named Assistant Vice President for Development at College of DuPage.

In her new role, the Naperville resident is working with the College’s Foundation, running the day-to-day operations and developing a major gifts program. Kuhn brings nearly 20 years of experience to the College, and she sees high growth potential in DuPage County.

“This area provides so much opportunity upon which we can capitalize in order to benefit our students,” she said.

Kuhn was brought up in an atmosphere of volunteerism when she accompanied her mother to various meetings and functions. As a student at the University of Iowa, Kuhn volunteered with the university’s Dance Marathon, an annual event that benefits the children’s oncology unit at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Kuhn participated all four years, first as a dancer raising funds and then as a member of the event’s executive committee. At that time, the dance raised approximately $400,000 annually.

“It’s compelling when you see how just $400 can provide care packages for 20 families,” she said. “I wanted to be in a career that provided help, but I didn’t want to be a nurse, and I knew that if I went into social work I would become too involved in my clients’ stories.”

Kuhn earned her bachelor’s degrees in English and Political Science from the University of Iowa and then her master’s degree in Public Service and Nonprofit Management at DePaul University. She worked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona, running fundraising for the entire state, and then decided to make a switch into working with major gifts. After moving back to the Chicago area, she spent three years with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital and then was director of development for Sinai Health System.

When Kuhn was ready to try something different, she found higher education to be even more compelling and uplifting than health care.

“One reason I love a community college setting is that people really want to be here, but sometimes they need help. As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I understand what those challenges are,” she said. “And having grown up in Naperville, I am fully aware of the impact that College of DuPage has on people’s lives. In my new position, I can provide a connection between DuPage County and the College’s story in a way that benefits our students and the community we serve.”