Peru State Foundation welcomes back SaraBeth Donovan as Executive Director

Peru State Foundation welcomes back SaraBeth Donovan as Executive Director

May 4, 2020
Contact: Jason Hogue, Director of Marketing and Communications, 402-872-2429


Peru, Nebraska – The Peru State College Foundation is pleased to announce that SaraBeth Donovan is its next Executive Director. Donovan is a Peru State graduate and previously worked with the Foundation and National Alumni Association before returning to a career with the United States Department of Justice.

Interim Chair of the Foundation Board of Directors, Dr. Judy (Green) Grotrian (’72), said, “SaraBeth comes to us with over 35 years of association with Peru State College. She brings a wealth of experience in leadership, management, and fundraising, as well as – and perhaps most importantly – a broad based knowledge of hundreds of alumni and friends of Peru State.”

“Despite her tremendous professional and personal successes since graduating from Peru State in 1985, she has never forgotten her alma mater and has continued to give back to it in numerous ways.”

Dr. Dan Hanson, president of Peru State, adds, “SaraBeth has been an ardent advocate for Peru State College as an alumni, as a Foundation employee and as a board member. She brings fantastic experience to the Executive Director role and I look forward to working with her.”

Photo of Donovan

SaraBeth Donovan

When asked why she retired from the federal government to return to the Foundation as the Executive Director, Donovan replied, “The time is now; great things are happening all over campus.  President Hanson has a vision and the Foundation must help to make that vision a reality.”

Donovan continues, “A strong Foundation and alumni network means a strong Peru State College. Only together, can we ensure a bright future for Peru State and its current and future students.”

Donovan grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and graduated from Peru State with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics education with endorsements in computer science and coaching.  She was very active on campus, serving as President of the Student Senate, playing varsity softball, and being involved in various other organizations. She was appointed by Governor Bob Kerrey to be a Student Trustee for the Nebraska State College System.

After graduation, Donovan taught high school math and computers at Omaha South High School, and coached freshman girls basketball and volleyball.  She went on to obtain her law degree from the University of Nebraska, and spent 23 years as an attorney with the United States Department of Justice.

Donovan served in the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, D.C., and the United States Attorney’s Offices in Nebraska and South Dakota.  Throughout her time in the Voting Section, she enforced federal elections laws throughout the nation, first as a trial attorney investigating and litigating her own cases, and later as a Deputy Chief managing and mentoring less experienced attorneys and support staff.

Donovan took a three year break to serve as the Peru State Foundation’s first Planned Giving Officer. In that position, she started an estate giving program and developed the 1867 Society to recognize those individuals who have included Peru State College in their estate plans. Donovan was also instrumental in creating the National Alumni Association, organized numerous alumni events, and developed meaningful relationships with the College’s alumni and friends across the country.

Since 2008, she has been on the Foundation’s Board of Directors serving as Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary. In addition, Donovan has also continued to advocate for Peru State College with the State Legislature.

Asked about her love of Peru State, Donovan said, “Since graduating, I have traveled to all 50 states and around the world. I have even raised a Peru State flag on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and at Machu Picchu. It all started on that little Campus of a Thousand Oaks.”

“Professors Darryl Long and Lyle McKercher not only taught me calculus and statistics, but – like so many others on campus – they taught me to be kind, to dream, to be somebody, to give back.  I know other alumni are echoing those same sentiments.”

Donovan began her new role on May 4.

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