James Jenson retired at the end of April as vice president for seminary relations and executive director of the Luther Seminary Foundation. He was instrumental in the development of major planned gifts and the recent rapid growth of private funding for Luther Seminary since 1992. Prior to joining the administrative staff at Luther Seminary, he served as associate director for the Foundation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Colleague Kathy Hansen, who assumes the titles of vice president for seminary relations and executive director of the foundation, described Jenson's attentive nature: "He has all the time in the world for you, and nothing is more important to him than the conversation you are having at that very moment. This is why he is a great development officer.
"It is who he is as a person that leads donors to confide in him, to trust him with their most private financial information. They share with him their deepest hopes and dreams. They pray with him, and they give generously because he invites them to."
Ordained in 1963, Jenson served pastorates in several Montana parishes (1963-1974) and was assistant to the bishop in the Rocky Mountain District (Great Falls, Mont.) of the American Lutheran Church (1974- 1980). He earned his bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College (1958) and master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary (1963). n 2000, he received the Virgil Anderson Award at the 2000 Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE) conference. He was recognized for his exemplary and long-time leadership and service within the development field.
Jenson will continue to use his gifts in development as a consultant.
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