BISMARCK, ND — The University of Mary is pleased to announce that after a rigorous and thorough search process, Brenda Nagel has been chosen as the University of Mary Vice President for Public Affairs.

Brenda Nagel has been serving as the university’s Director of Public Affairs for the past two and a half years, since August 2017. Before coming to the University of Mary, Nagel was the Senior Director of Operations at Aetna, and in her role of executive leadership, she reduced operating costs, raised service levels and was chosen as a Top 100 leader in an organization with nearly 50,000 employees.

University of Mary President Monsignor James Shea praised Nagel’s experience in leadership, team-building and expertise in customer service. Jerome Richter, Executive Vice President, said Nagel’s professional networking will be a great asset in furthering and driving the university’s mission.

“Having worked daily with Brenda over these past two and a half years, I am confident she will continue to bring to the Office of Public Affairs — and now the Offices of Mission Advancement and Enrollment Management — her vast skill set with a can-do spirit full of energy and hope,” Richter said.

Brenda Nagel
Vice President for Public Affairs, University of Mary.

“I am excited and humbled to be chosen for this opportunity to continue to serve the University of Mary in this expanded role,” Nagel said. “The University of Mary is a standout in higher education, and continues to innovate and thrive as it moves into the future. In a very special way, I am proud that the University of Mary is graduating students committed to becoming servant leaders in their communities. The University of Mary is truly a beacon in higher education.”

After serving the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery from 1985 through 1994 as a team leader in the Central Services Department at St. Alexius Medical Center, Nagel’s leadership path continued with an impeccable 23-year tenure at Aetna. During her tenure, she was a leader in the claim and call operation supporting Aetna’s customers nationwide. There, Nagel successfully posted some of the lowest turnover rates for staff, corporate-wide, and was successful in numerous cost saving measures using her operational expertise.  From 2010 to most recently in 2017, as senior director of operations, Nagel provided strategic direction and team engagement across  Aetna service centers nationwide and globally.

Nagel has also served on the board for Missouri Slope Areawide United Way, providing leadership for our local United Way’s first fundraising campaign to top $1 million, and is the former chair of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce. She is a Chamber Leadership Program graduate and also earned both her bachelor’s degree and Master of Science degree from the University of Mary.

Nagel’s civic involvement and leadership also includes the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Endowment Committee and Young Professionals Wisdom Team and she is a past board member of the Charles Hall Youth Services Foundation.

Richter thanked the search committee, including Dr. Rod Jonas, faculty, staff and trustees, who reviewed more than 60 applications and conducted interviews with the finalists. The university’s President’s Council met with finalists before making its decision.