The Drake University Board of Trustees has named alumnus and business executive Mark Ernst, BN’80, as its new chair. Ernst, who has served on the board since 2008 and is currently co-chair of The Ones: Drake’s Campaign for the Brave & Bold, will succeed Peggy Fisher who has served in the role since July 2019. Ernst will begin his term July 1. 

“I am confident that Mark’s strong leadership, vision, and commitment to Drake will propel our great University forward,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “Mark will continue to advance the mission and global reach of the University as he has done for more than a decade. He also will continue helping to lead our comprehensive campaign along with co-chair Suzie Glazer Burt.”  

“As Mark assumes his new role as chair, I must also extend my deepest gratitude to Peggy Fisher for her steadfast leadership over the last three years,” said Martin. “Her contributions will leave a lasting impact on this great institution for many years to come.” 

Ernst is managing partner of Bellevue Capital and the former executive vice president and chief operating officer at Fiserv, Inc. Prior to joining Fiserv, Ernst served as deputy commissioner at  the Internal Revenue Service. Ernst previously led a transformation of tax and financial services at H&R Block, Inc., where he served as chairman, president, and chief executive officer from 2001 through 2007. 

“Drake is at a pivot point in the midst of changes in the higher education landscape,” said Ernst. “Leading the board at this moment, when Drake alumni and supporters have the opportunity to strengthen our campus through The Ones campaign, is an honor. We have a bold vision for what can be at Drake, and it is up to all of us to help enable that future.” 

A native of Bellevue, Iowa, Ernst earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Drake in 1980, an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and he is a Certified Public Accountant. 

Ernst and his wife LeighAnn Davis have and continue to support Drake through several important philanthropic efforts, including a $3 million unrestricted gift to The Ones campaign, as well as significant gifts to the Robert D. and Billie Ray Promenade, Cowles Library renovation, and annual support of the Drake Fund. 

In addition to Ernst’s ascension to board chair, the Drake University Board of Trustees welcomes three new members: 

  • Martha Capps, JO’78, of Eden Prairie, Minn., principal at Capps Marketing 
  • Kathleen Fehrman, of Des Moines, Iowa, managing partner of Fehrman Investments, L.L.C. and community advocate 
  • Amy Ohde, BN’98, of Atlanta, executive director of launch support at Chick-fil-A and Drake’s 2013 Young Alumni Achievement award winner