University Leadership


Dr. Joshua D. Merchant


Merchant joined BVU in 2017 as the University’s 18th president.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communications and theatre from Albion College, his master’s degree in agricultural extension education from Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Western Michigan University. His ongoing scholarship focuses on venture philanthropy and its impact on shared governance structures in higher education

With a strong belief that higher education serves the public good, Merchant has worked in education for nearly 20 years. Prior to joining BVU, he was the vice president of development and alumni engagement at the University of North Florida and the executive director and CEO for the UNF Foundation, Inc., where he gained extensive experience in strategic planning, fundraising, external engagement, marketing, and enrollment management.

Merchant also worked at Albion College where he served as vice president of institutional advancement and as interim vice president for enrollment management. During his tenure, he provided leadership for a comprehensive integrated marketing campaign and was part of an enrollment strategy that successfully increased net tuition revenue by 15 percent.


Dr. Brian Lenzmeier

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Brian Lenzmeier joined BVU in 2003 as a professor of biology.

Lenzmeier earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Colorado State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.  He also completed post-doctoral research in molecular biology at Princeton University and was a visiting research fellow in the area of molecular medicine at Mayo Clinic in 2011.

In addition to his role as a professor of biology, Lenzmeier has held several leadership roles at BVU. In recent years, he has served as chair of the Tenure and promotion committee, played an integral role in the revision of faculty employment policies, and worked with colleagues to develop and implement a new biomedical sciences major. In 2016, he served on the Board of Trustees’ presidential search committee.

Lenzmeier has been named “Faculty Member of the Year” twice by the BVU student senate, and was the 2009 recipient of the George Wythe Award, the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching.

Lucy Shaffer Croft

Dr. Lucy Shaffer Croft

Vice President for Student Success

Dr. Lucy Shaffer Croft joined BVU as vice president for student success in April 2019.

Croft is an accomplished student life professional with nearly 30 years of experience in higher education. Prior to joining BVU, Croft served as associate vice president for student affairs at the University of North Florida. She previously spent 13 years at the University of Cincinnati as director of student activities and leadership development. 

A former director of student activities at Virginia Intermont College, Croft also served as assistant director of student activities and orientation at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

She has been a member of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) since 1986, and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors after chairing the board in 2017-18.

Croft earned an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction, as well as a master’s degree in community counseling, from the University of Cincinnati. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and elementary education from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.


Lawrence Johnson

Vice President for University Development and Alumni Engagement

Lawrence Johnson joined BVU as vice president for university development and alumni engagement in 2018.

Johnson is an accomplished advancement professional with more than 24 years of higher education experience. Prior to joining BVU, he served as senior director of development at Carroll University. He also spent 12 years at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he served as senior director of development for the Labovitz School of Business and Economics.

Johnson also previously worked as director of gift planning at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; a development associate at the North Dakota State University Foundation; an alumni and annual fund director at the University of Jamestown; and director of alumni affairs and assistant director of development at St. John's University. In 2015, Johnson retired with 30 years of service as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University Long Beach, and a master’s degree in student affairs administration in higher education from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

Kevin McIntyre

Kevin McIntyre

Vice President of Enrollment Management

Kevin McIntyre joined BVU in September 2018.

McIntyre has more than 30 years of experience in higher education enrollment. Before joining BVU, he served as dean of admission at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. He also held prior roles as vice president at Rosemont College, dean of enrollment management at Immaculata University, dean of admissions at Goldey-Beacom College, director of admissions and financial aid at Keystone Junior College, and assistant dean of admissions at King’s College.

McIntyre is actively involved in multiple organizations including the National Association for College Admission Counseling. He has also been a member of Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling and a scholarship program reader for Educational Testing Services.

McIntyre received his master’s of business administration from Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware and his bachelor’s in English at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.


Suzette Radke

Vice President for Finance and Administration

Suzette Radke was named vice president for finance and administration in 2016.

She holds a bachelor's degree in leisure services and physical education from Wartburg College, a bachelor's degree in accounting from BVU and a master's degree in professional accountancy from University of South Dakota, Vermillion. Radke has also received a certificate in advanced education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.

Radke's career at BVU spans 25 years, including roles as an accountant, accounting manager and controller, and most recently director of business services and controller. Since 2012, she has served as an adjunct faculty member in BVU's Harold Walter Siebens School of Business, teaching Governmental and not-for-profit accounting.

Radke also manages the accounting for a family farm and is actively involved in the community as a member of the Baseball/Softball Improvement Commission, a Buena Vista Regional Medical Center Foundation board member, and an advisory board member for Heritage Bank NA.


Dr. Matthew Packer

Chair of the Faculty Senate

Dr. Matthew Packer joined BVU in 2007 as an assistant professor of English. He was named chair of the BVU faculty senate in May 2018.

Packer serves as co-director of University Seminar and was also named a 2017 finalist for the George Wythe Award- the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching. He earned his Ph.D. in English from West Virginia University in 2006, as well as his bachelor’s and master’s in English from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. While some of Packer’s best moments have been spent with students and colleagues on academic trips to China, Iceland, Cuba, Rwanda, and more, he also enjoys sailing on Storm Lake and spending time on BVU’s “oasis” of a campus.

He is an avid reader who encourages students to ask good questions and explore new ideas. Packer’s research interests include contemporary and postcolonial literature and René Girard’s mimetic theory. He’s published on a range of authors including Don DeLillo and John Dos Passos, as well as the U.S.-China rivalry.


Rick Pallister

Chief Marketing Officer

Rick Pallister joined BVU as chief marketing officer in June 2018.

Pallister is an accomplished executive with more than 25 years of brand strategy and marketing experience. Prior to joining BVU, he was the senior vice president at Love Scott Associates & (c)3 Marketing in Des Moines. Pallister also served as an account director at Meredith Integrated Marketing for six years, where he delivered award-winning, multi-channel, data-driven campaigns and marketing strategies to several Fortune 500 clients.

In addition, Pallister has extensive experience working in the higher education marketing sector, serving as the director of marketing at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn. and as a director of communications at Iowa State University in Ames.

Pallister earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in mass communications from Drake University. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast management and production from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.


Katelyn Adams

Assistant to the President and Board of Trustees

Adams joined BVU in 2018 as assistant to the president and BVU Board of Trustees. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications from BVU. Upon graduating, Adams served as the marketing and activities director at Storm Lake United. Later, she worked in company-wide communication for Farm Credit Services of America in Storm Lake as a consumer lending specialist. Adams has experience in event planning, organizing conferences, and working with executive leaders and board of directors across the Midwest. 

Adams is originally from Storm Lake. She spends time volunteering on the Women’s Board at Lake Creek Country Club and has been involved in Dollars for Scholars, as well as the Ambassadors program at Storm Lake United.