State representative's wife continues toward career goals while working at CMU

Jennifer Cotter said being the wife of a state representative has not changed her.

Cotter is the director of development for the College of Education and Human Services at Central Michigan University. Her husband of six-and-a-half years, Kevin Cotter, was elected state representative for Michigan’s 99th district in November.

She said the campaign was an exciting time for their friends and family.

“It was a really positive experience,” she said. “Running a campaign is a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.”

Cotter said she has not been treated any different since the election. Friends sometimes ask her about state politics, but that’s it, she said.

The campaign has not affected her professional life at CMU, and she has the same aspirations for EHS now as she had before the campaign, she said.

“I still have goals and standards,” she said. “That’s not affected my career.”

Cotter said she helps EHS raise funds for endowment scholarships, capital projects and other various projects in her position. One of her main goals is to finish private funding for the EHS Building.

Kathryn Koch, interim dean for EHS, said in an e-mail that Cotter has done a lot to help complete funding for the building.

“Jennifer Cotter has made a tremendous impact on fundraising in the College of Education and Human Services,” she said. “Her efforts have enabled the college to increase its donor base significantly. I am very happy she is a member of our team.”

Cotter said the most rewarding part of the job is connecting alumni back to the university. She said she works to invite alumni speakers to campus and engage with students.

“Students like to hear from alumni that have career experience,” she said. “Alumni can be great mentors to students.”

Cotter was born and raised in Mount Pleasant and graduated from CMU in 2001. She said she wanted to work at CMU because she had a wonderful time as a student.

“CMU is a gem and we are blessed to have the university in the community,” she said.

Challenges to raise funds amidst the struggling economy have arisen, Cotter said, but many alumni still contribute to the university because they want to help students with their education.

“To see our donors meet our scholarship recipients is a very rewarding experience,” she said.

Ray Francis, interim associate dean for EHS, said in an e-mail that Cotter does a great job at developing a community that supports the college.

“She does an outstanding job at cultivating partners for projects within EHS,” he said. “She enjoys working with people, identifying their interests in EHS and connecting them to the college in a very meaningful way.”

Cotter said she appreciates meeting alumni who have been successful in their careers and returned to CMU. She said everyone has a story, and it is gratifying to hear alumni relive their days on campus.

“We’re very fortunate because we get to meet our alumni and learn their stories,” she said. “It’s a fun job, that’s for sure.”


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