Posted: April 21, 1997
Contact: Doug Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-201-1426
Morris J. Anderson, chief of staff for the governor of Minnesota and a longtime public policy leader, is being recommended for appointment as interim chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).
Bill Ulland, chair of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, will recommend the appointment at a board meeting on Wednesday. Anderson, a member of the board since April 1996, has resigned as a trustee, effective today, to be considered for the position.
If appointed, Anderson would begin his new duties on July 1 after leaving his position in the governor's office. It is expected he would serve as interim chancellor for a two-year period.
"MnSCU has made immense progress since it was created nearly two years ago, and it is essential that we maintain that momentum,"Ulland said. "Morrie Anderson would provide the strong leadership we need."
Ulland said MnSCU needs a leader who is knowledgeable about the higher education system's progress and goals, who has strong skills in leading a complex organization and who is well informed about Minnesota government. "Morrie Anderson fits the bill in every respect," Ulland said. He noted that Anderson's appointment was recommended to him by Chancellor Judith Eaton, who is leaving MnSCU to become president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in Washington, D.C.
Anderson, a Waconia resident, has more than 28 years of experience in management and policy development positions.
As the governor's chief of staff since November 1994, he has served as chief operations officer for the state of Minnesota, with its 43,000 employees and annual general fund budget of $9 billion.
He served as commissioner of the state Department of Revenue from January 1993 to November 1994 and as assistant commissioner for tax policy from January 1991 to May 1992. He was executive director of the Association of Minnesota Counties from 1982 to 1987 and deputy director from 1977 to 1982.
He also worked as manager of David M. Griffith & Associates in St. Paul from May 1992 to December 1992, vice president of regulatory affairs for Biotrol Inc. in Chaska from 1987 to 1991, account executive with Springsted Inc. from 1974 to 1977 and city administrator for the city of Shakopee from 1971 to 1974. He was an elected county commissioner in Carver County from 1971 to 1975 and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps from 1965 to 1968.
Anderson holds a master's degree in urban affairs from Mankato State University and a bachelor's degree in economics from Macalester College. He also has attended The Wharton School, the St. Thomas Management Center and the MFOA Career Development Center.
Anderson said he intends to build on MnSCU's accomplishments if he is appointed interim chancellor. "In less than two years, we have set a strategic direction for the new system, created a culture of accountability, adopted a new model for allocating funds to the colleges and universities, developed new management and fiscal systems and policies, and conceptualized the MnSCU Electronic Academy. That is a very strong start.
"I would welcome the opportunity to work closely with our faculty, students, administrative staff and board to move this agenda forward and capture the full potential of this higher education system," Anderson said.
Anderson's recommended appointment drew several comments today from state government leaders.
"Morrie Anderson has been a tremendous asset to this administration and would be sorely missed," said Governor Arne Carlson. "I am confident he would be an outstanding chancellor for MnSCU, considering his strong management abilities and vast experience in the public sector. He has served the people of Minnesota exceptionally well as chief of staff and would continue to serve them well as chancellor."
"I wish Morrie well," said Minnesota House Speaker Phil Carruthers. "He has been a good administrator and has extensive experience as a public servant in Minnesota. His background and open management style would be useful in building trust and getting the organization to pull together. It's my hope that he would work closely with faculty and student groups to build a strong working relationship on behalf of MnSCU."
Rep. Lyndon Carlson, chair of the House Education Committee, said: "Morrie Anderson does have extensive administrative experience outside higher education. If he is a good listener and a strong advocate for public higher education, it is very likely he will be a successful interim chancellor. The position is so vital to the future of the state it is important to all of us that he succeed."
Sen. Cal Larson, a member of the Senate Higher Education Division, said: "Morrie has a strong background in management. I have worked with him on a number of issues, and I would think he would do a good job as interim chancellor. I look forward to working with him in getting our students ready for the rest of their lives."
Eaton intends to complete her duties as chancellor on June 30, 1997. She has served in the position since August 15, 1995.
The MnSCU system became operational on July 1, 1995, bringing together previously separate systems of community colleges, state universities and technical colleges. The merger of the three systems resulted from legislation passed by the 1991 Minnesota Legislature.