The Mercy College of Health Sciences Board of Directors unanimously voted in support of appointing Matthew Willkom as the newest member of the Board of Directors. Willkom currently works for the Iowa Catholic Radio Network in Des Moines as the Network’s executive director. Previously, he has served as a producer for many other Catholic radio organizations and programs, including Spirit Catholic Radio in Omaha, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Lino At Large,” Relevant Radio in Minneapolis, and Vatican Radio in Rome. 

Willkom earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, before going on to achieve his Master of Theological Studies in Pastoral Theology from Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida. Willkom will serve an initial term of three years on the Board. 

Dr. Adreain Henry, Mercy College of Health Sciences’ new president, also joined the Board as an ex officio member on July 1, 2022. Dr. Henry earned his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry from Salus University in Pennsylvania. He most recently served as the Chief Academic Officer and Associate Provost at Hallmark University in San Antonio, Texas. A Mississippi native, Dr. Henry moved with his family from San Antonio to Des Moines, Iowa, upon his appointment as the College’s fourth president.

Several other members of the Board of Directors reached their maximum term limit of nine years serving on the Board. Outgoing members included Mary Sheldahl, former partner / owner of Iowa Dental Supply Co.; Thomas Reitinger, CEO of Thomas R. Reitinger & Associates, LLC and former CEO of Mercy Health Network; and Stephen Eckstat, DO, FAAFP. Sheldahl and Reitinger each served for several years on the Executive Committee of the Board. Sheldahl served for two years as the Chair of the Board, immediately preceding most recent Chair Paul Erickson, retired senior vice president of the Consumer Division at Bankers Trust Company. Reitinger served for several years as the Board’s Treasurer. Dr. Eckstat generously served on the Board’s Teaching and Learning Committee. All three members left the Board at the conclusion of their current respective terms on June 30, 2022. 

Along with these changes in membership come several new responsibilities for remaining Executive Committee members. Current Chair Paul Erickson will assume the dual role of Vice Chair and Treasurer. Emily McAllister, attorney and shareholder at Duncan Green, P.C., has accepted the position of Board Chair. McAllister most recently served on the Executive Committee as Vice Chair. Joyce Lillis, MSN, will remain as Board Secretary. All changes to the Board’s membership and roles went into effect July 1, 2022. 

“We’re grateful to Mary, Tom, and Dr. Eckstat for their service and guidance to Mercy College and the Board of Directors. Their leadership has been invaluable to our faculty, staff, and students,” Mercy College Interim President Tom Leahy stated. “I am thrilled to welcome Matt and Dr. Henry to the Board and look forward to working with Paul and Emily in their new roles. The Board’s guidance and expertise allows the College to advance our mission and vision of becoming a locally and regionally recognized leader in healthcare education.”

The Mercy College of Health Sciences Board of Directors serves as the governing body of Mercy College and is committed, at a strategic level, to its fiduciary responsibilities of educational quality, fiscal integrity, and assuring the effectiveness of the College and its various constituencies. In shaping the College’s strategies and policies, the Board engages in a culture of accountability, transparency, and the highest ethical standards. 

Learn more about the Mercy College of Health Sciences Board of Directors at