Dr. Jennifer L. Braaten joined AGB Search as a search consultant in 2016. She was named the first woman president of Ferrum College in 2002 and served in this position through July 2016. She was previously the first woman to lead Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska. Before Midland, she served as provost, academic dean and a professor of history at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. She is a graduate summa cum laude of the University of Minnesota and received her Masters of Education with highest honors and Ed.D. with high distinction from Florida Atlantic University.
Dr. Braaten was recognized by The Roanoker magazine as a top female leader in the southwest Virginia region. She is widely sought as a speaker and, as president of Ferrum College, she lectured at more than 100 churches, colleges, high schools, and leadership and civic events. Under her leadership, the College enhanced academic programs, added athletic teams, increased enrollment and the endowment, and invested over $30 million in campus renovations and upgrades. After taking the helm at Ferrum College, Dr. Braaten successfully completed the Raising the Bar Capital Campaign and the Centennial Campaign. She was the architect of one of the most comprehensive small campus “makeovers” in the region, creating a replicable facilities model that includes new modular-built residence halls, a dramatically expanded student center, an athletic complex, “learning commons” space in the library, and major laboratory additions to Garber Science Hall.
Community and regional partnerships were a strong focus for Dr. Braaten during her time at Ferrum College. She spearheaded the creation of the Tri Area Community Health Center in lower Vaughn Chapel and the Ferrum YMCA, both on campus; the acquisition of a $1M gift to construct a new building for the Free Clinic of Franklin County; and the conversion of properties adjacent to campus into the Ferrum Campus Safety Complex, the Ferrum Mercantile, and the Ferrum Outdoors House.
Dr. Braaten served as chair of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS), the Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc. (EIIA), and the USA South Athletic Conference. She was also past chair of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) and the Lutheran Community Foundation in Minnesota. Dr. Braaten served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Colleges and Universities of The United Methodist Church (NASCUMC), the International Association of Methodist Colleges and Universities (IAMSCU), National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities (NAICU), Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), and the Appalachian College Association (ACA).
Dr. Braaten and her husband, Reverend Conrad A. Braaten, retired senior pastor of Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC, have two children, Kirsten B. Stanley, executive vice president of Meisner Electric Company and president of the Junior League of Boca Raton, Florida, and Dr. Conrad D. Braaten, in residency at Unity Health, Searcy Medical Center, Searcy, Arkansas.