Augustana hires director of international admissions

Augustana hires director of international admissions
Donn Grinager

After working at Augustana for 26 years, a former international student adviser, part-time resident hall director and director of International Programs returned to the university in October to take on a new position: director of international admissions.

Heather Reed, co-director of the International Programs Office, said Donn Grinager’s experience in the field of international education made him the right person for the job.

According to Reed, because the number of international students at Augustana has grown over the last five years, the IPO needed a director of international admissions to create more of a focus on international student admission. 

“We were fortunate to get Donn back to Augustana,” Adam Heinitz, associate vice president of enrollment management, said. “To have someone with his experience, knowledge and love of Augustana and expertise in the field of international enrollment, bringing him onto our team was a very easy decision on our end.” 

Heinitz said Grinager largely contributed to the development of international programs at Augustana more than 20 years ago. 

“He was the first person to formally recruit international students at Augustana on a full-time basis and helped evolve our International Programs Office from a one-person operation to a multi-faceted recruitment, study abroad and student advising office,” Heinitz said. 

Grinager said the most memorable moment of his time with the IPO was participating in a Black Hills excursion in the orientation program to get to know students. 

“We sang karaoke songs on the bus and different kinds of activities out in the Black Hills. We hiked up to Black Elk Peak and visited the monuments,” Grinager said. “That time to be able to spend with students, to get to know students, is the most memorable.”

Reed said the IPO plans to use Grinager's skill set and knowledge to continue growing the international student population at Augustana and to mentor Liz Fossum, the newest international admissions counselor.

Grinager will work primarily in the admissions office with admissions counselors Brynn Heinert and Fossum. 

“The three of us will be working together to try to market the opportunity to study at Augustana all over the globe,” Grinager said. 

Grinager said his focus will center on the Indian subcontinent, including countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. His role will mainly revolve around connecting with international students about the possibility of studying at Augustana. 

“Part of it is trying to figure out how best to reach students who don’t know about us,” Grinager said. “How do we get on their radar screen? How can we become a recognizable brand in a lot of different countries so that students automatically kind of think about Augustana as an option for their bachelor’s degree?”

Grinager will also oversee the university’s international recruitment efforts, Heinitz said. 

“[Grinager] will collaborate with colleagues in admission, faculty and current students to continue to grow our international student enrollment,” Heinitz said. 

Now a month into his new role, Grinager’s enrollment goals include recruiting a larger number of international students in the freshman class. 

Many current students are excited to welcome Grinager as the director of international admissions. 

“It’s very exciting for new students to have him here with his experiences,” senior Benita Manzengo said.