Posted: July 18, 2001

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees today elected officers for the coming year. Mary (Ditlevson) Choate, Bloomington, will serve as board chair; Jim Luoma, Cohasset, will serve as vice chair; and Joseph Swanson, Two Harbors, will be treasurer. Their terms begin Aug. 1.

Choate, a graduate of St. Cloud State University, and her husband own and operate seven McDonald's restaurants in the Twin Cities area, and she serves as secretary/treasurer for the business. Choate was appointed to the board in 1998.

Choate formerly was a stockbroker with Piper Jaffray, E. F. Hutton and Norwest Investment Services. She has been active with the St. Cloud State University Foundation Board, serving as its chair from 1995-97, and with the university's Alumni Board, for which she was president from 1984-85.

Luoma has spent his professional career in education. He started as a teacher for the South Washington County School District and later became a principal in the district. He then served as superintendent for the Grand Rapids public schools, retiring in 1999. That year, he was appointed to the MnSCU board.

Luoma holds a doctorate from the University of St. Thomas, a master's degree from Northern State College in Aberdeen, S.D., and a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. In 1960, he entered college at Eveleth Junior College, which now is part of the Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in the MnSCU Northeast Higher Education District.

Swanson is a student member of the board, representing community colleges. In 2000, he was appointed to a two-year term. He graduated from Lake Superior College this past year and is pursuing a business career. He co-owns a technology and computer business. While in college, he was president of the Student Senate and was active in the Minnesota State College Student Association.

MnSCU Chancellor James H. McCormick thanked the outgoing board officers: Michael Vekich, who served four terms as chair; Andrew Boss, vice chair; and Joann Splonskowski, treasurer.

Note: To request photos of the board officers, call (651) 297-2720. The photos also are available in the Board of Trustees area of this site.