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From the Spring 2020 Edition of Discovery

Becoming a True Aggie

College of Science welcomes new development leader, Lori Hennigan

Lori Hennigan

Lori Hennigan, senior director of development for the College of Science.

Photo courtesy Nichole Bresee

As the College of Science greeted a new decade, we also greeted Texas native Lori Hennigan as our new senior director of development. Just a few months into her new position, she brings new energy and insights to our efforts. We invite you to get to know Lori through the following Q & A:

Q: Tell us a little about yourself, Lori. Where are you from? Where did you go to college? What are your career highlights?

A. I grew up in Sinton, Texas, which is a small town outside of Corpus Christi. After graduating, I attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where I double-majored in Communication Studies and English Literature, with a minor in Philosophy. Having grown up in south Texas, I always thought I’d end up in the oil and gas industry, like my dad. However, after graduation, I moved to Louisiana and began doing marketing for a casino! I spent three years doing what I would consider development at a for-profit company, then decided to pivot to non-profit development. I began my work in higher education at Tulane University in New Orleans, then moved to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I started at Utah State University in January and have hit the ground running!

Q: What three words would your family and friends use to describe you?

A: 1) Bubbly -- I’ve very outgoing and love meeting new people! 2) Adventurous -- I love to try new things, whether it’s exploring new foods or traveling to somewhere off the beaten path. 3) High Achiever -- Some may also say competitive, but I really believe in doing the best I can at everything I do.

Q: How did you make your first dollar?

A: Growing up, I raised and showed pigs through 4-H, something I will always attribute as the foundation for many life lessons. After my very first county stock show at age 8, I sold my pig in the auction and received the first check ever in my own name. While I was devastated to say goodbye to my pig, Sugar, it was an inspiring feeling to see all my hard work pay off!

Lori Hennigan

Lori Hennigan, senior director of development for the College of Science, poses with university mascot Big Blue atop USU’s iconic 'Block A.'

Photo courtesy Nichole Bresee

Q: You’re an avid reader and also enjoy listening to podcasts. Tell us about one that had an impact on you.

A: Shortly after I moved into higher education development, a donor told me about Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History and specifically said I should listen to an episode called “My Little Hundred Million.” I won’t spoil the story, but it’s based on the role philanthropy plays in higher education. It has a compelling narrative that represents both the donor and the university’s interests. If I ever wonder if my work is meaningful, that episode always provides inspiration for me.

Q: Why did Utah State University appeal to you?

A: When I visited the campus during an interview, I immediately fell in love with the scenery! After living in Texas and Louisiana for my entire life, I was so impressed by the mountains and loved the idea of living somewhere with all four seasons. Then, after meeting with the leadership teams in both the College of Science and University Advancement, it was clear there were some exciting things happening here and this position had a lot of potential to be a part of that. USU has incredibly innovative leaders, who aren’t afraid to try new things and it’s really energizing to be part of this culture.

Q: Word on campus is you have a list of goals and tasks in your new USU position that you’ve wanted to accomplish right away. What are some of the highlights of that list?
Lori Hennigan at Science Unwrapped event

At her first Science Unwrapped event in February 2020, Lori Hennigan, the college’s new Senior Director of Development gets up close and personal with a live snake at the Biology Graduate Student Association and USU Entomology Club’s outreach booth.

Photo courtesy Nichole Bresee

A: I created a 90-day plan before I started, and was able to accomplish all of my goals within the first 45 days, which was great! Some of my top priorities included meeting every department had in the college to learn more about what exciting things were happening with their faculty and students and creating a three-year strategic plan for development initiatives within the college. I’m continuing to get to know Utah State University and Cache Valley.

Q: What has most surprised you about Cache Valley, since arriving at Utah State?
Lori Hennigan uses a microscope

Hennigan peers at aquatic creatures at the USU-based National Aquatic Monitoring Center (“The Bug Lab”) booth.

Photo courtesy Nichole Bresee

A: I’ve been most surprised at how the valley feels like such a small town, which really makes it feel like home to me. After growing up in a very small town of 5,000 people, I’ve lived in larger cities for the past 11 years. It’s really refreshing for me to move into what I would consider a more tight-knit community, than where I’ve been in quite a while.

Q: What are three local activities you’re dying to try?

A: I have never been skiing, so that’s at the top of my list! As a big football fan, I’m excited to go to an Aggie football game in the fall. I’m also looking forward to taking hikes around the valley and experiencing the outdoors with my dogs.

Q: One more question: What’s your favorite flavor of Aggie Ice Cream?

A: I haven’t tried them all (yet!), but Cookies & Cream is my current favorite.


By Mary-Ann Muffoletto

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