Cathy Willette, Director of Development, College of Business
A.A.S., Sales & Marketing
Willmar Tech '84 (now Ridgewater College)
General Business Administration
Minnesota State University, Mankato
I grew up in southwestern MN, the youngest of five, in a small rural community. I feel fortunate to have grown up in a small town that gave me the opportunity to try my hand at everything-sports, music, speech, drama- and had parents that supported and encouraged me. That “you can do it” spirit was influential and gave me lasting confidence and independence that followed me wherever I went in life.
I started my higher ed journey as a first-generation student at MSU in 1982. Since then, I’ve led some amazing teams in successful organizations, but found my passion as I spent the last 20 + years in leadership in Higher Ed Technology. I shifted duties but not focus when I joined the Minnesota State team in Nov 2021 to become the Director of Development for the COB. I have a passion to help students achieve their dreams, through education, and have spent much of my career doing work that supported that. This position allows me to have a much more up-close and personal impact on students through the work we do at the Foundation, and I cannot be more excited than to do it right where my own Higher Ed journey began. I look forward to meeting our alumni, to learn your story and inspirations, and how we can best work together to create meaningful, impactful, real-life student experiences.
I live in Mankato, am married (Jonathan), with three grown boys - all proud Mavericks!
The best piece of advice I've ever been given: Retire to something, not away from something. Find the thing you love to do and go spend your time doing it.
If I could invent a holiday, it would definitely involve cooking and having my kids home. Wait, isn’t that Thanksgiving?
My favorite inspirational quote is: You can’t stop the Waves, but you can learn to Surf.