Celebrating a Woman of Character: Jill Lustberg

Tomorrow, the university will fly its flag at half-staff in honor of a great woman and Olin team member. Jill Lustberg, associate director of development for Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, died Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, at her home in St. Louis, Mo., after battling cancer for more than five years. She was 43.

When Lustberg joined the Alumni & Development staff in 2008, she was responsible for leading the business school’s Eliot Society and Annual Fund fundraising initiatives.

“Jill arrived on our campus eager to advance the university’s mission and forge new connections to strengthen our ambitious goals,” said David T. Blasingame, Executive Vice Chancellor for Alumni & Development Programs.  “She surpassed all expectations, turning program possibilities into realities and gaining the trust, respect, and deep admiration of everyone she came to know. We will continue to learn from and honor her example.”

She and her colleagues developed and implemented fundraising strategies that had a significant impact on the Olin School’s annual giving programs and alumni engagement initiatives. In addition to her fundraising responsibilities, Jill managed such programs as the Century Club Speaker Series, Lunch with a Pro, and the Industry Insider’s Mentoring Program.

She also initiated a new program, “Conversations with the Dean,” to better engage alumni

Jill, husband Jason, and daughter Rory.

Jill, husband Jason, and daughter Rory.

with the school through a series of small group discussions with Dean Mahendra Gupta, Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management. “Jill always found a way to bring new friends into the room, and her warm smile and confidence in engaging them infused a new life into our efforts to share the good news about Olin with ever greater numbers of alumni. Jill could connect with people in ways the rest of us envy,” writes Dean Gupta. Jill brought her significant data analytics skills to bear in improving donor retention among Olin annual fund supporters and also in finding new ways of engaging our volunteers and donors.  In each of the four years that Jill managed Olin’s Eliot Society fundraising efforts, the Olin Alumni & Development team exceeded their Eliot Society fundraising goals.

Kirk Wrobley (MBA 1991), past Olin Alumni Board President and chair of Olin’s Eliot Society Membership Committee in the 2010-2011 year, has fond memories of working with Jill.  “I was convinced that people didn’t understand where the money went so we played a Q&A game at the Eliot Kickoff.  The funny part of that was that every answer was ‘Call Jill.’  People learned a lot and had fun, and Jill was always a good sport!”

Jill came to Washington University from the University of Houston where she served as Director of Development in the College of Technology.

“Jill’s passion about her work was evident from the beginning.  She was committed to her volunteers, donors, and colleagues, and always brought creative, new ideas to the table. Jill’s positive energy and zest for life was a gift to us all,”  Pamella A. Henson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni and Development Programs, stated.

Previously she was the Director of Undergraduate Programs and the Coordinator of Student Services in the College of Technology at the University of Houston.  Jill earned her master of arts degree in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education in 1997 from Ball State University, and her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Truman State University in 1993.

“Jill brought an enthusiasm to our team and our work that is irreplaceable. She had an infectious energy that made you want to follow her lead wherever she was going, and every alumnus(a) that Jill touched wanted to spend more time with her. Olin’s alumni network grew stronger and larger through her unique style of engagement,” offered Nancy Barter, senior director for Olin Business School Alumni & Development.

A celebration of Jill’s life and impact will be held on Saturday, November 22, at 10 a.m. at the Alumni House on the Washington University’s Danforth Campus. Memorial Contributions may be made to http://www.razoo.com/story/Jillyslove

Jill is survived by her husband, Jason Lustberg, and their daughter, Rory.



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3 Responses to "Celebrating a Woman of Character: Jill Lustberg"

  1. avatar Zach Gietl

    I am so sorry to hear of this. Jill was a wonderful mentor for me in serving as my class gift co-chair. She was always available to help answer questions and inspire us to try new ideas. May she rest in peace.

  2. avatar Sarah Miller

    Indeed a wonderful tribute to an amazing colleague and friend! Jill’s amazing energy and eternal optimism impacted many, and will continue to for a very long time to come.

  3. avatar Dorothy Kittner

    Fabulous tribute! What an infectious spirit that will be hard to replace on this earth, but long remembered…

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