Governor Pawlenty names Rochester higher education development committee

Posted: July 15, 2005

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

News Release from the Office of Governor Tim Pawlenty

Rochester - Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the appointment of the 11-member Rochester Higher Education Development Committee. The new committee will evaluate the higher education needs of the Rochester area and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature for expanded educational offerings to meet the needs of the community and the state.

The Governor pointed to the need for a stronger higher education presence in the Rochester area in his State of the State address in Rochester this past January. In his speech, the Governor proposed the first state planning funds and a development committee to the Legislature. The proposal had bipartisan support and $3.2 million for planning and development was included in the Omnibus Higher Education Act signed May 26, 2005.

"This community is growing rapidly thanks to a strong economy based in health care, technology, biotechnology and supporting industries. The need for a more unified higher education presence is clear," Governor Pawlenty said. "Together, these individuals will have the unique opportunity to chart a course for higher education in Rochester and begin to implement a vision of expanded opportunity. I am excited about Rochester's future, and I thank each of these committee members for their willingness to lead."

Marilyn D. Stewart, of Rochester, is appointed to chair the committee. She currently serves as real estate broker and branch manager for Edina Realty Rochester. Stewart has served on the University Center Rochester Board of Directors and the Regents Advisory Committee of the University of Minnesota Rochester since 1987. She served for six years on the Greater Rochester Area University Center Board, and served as chair in 2002 and 2003. Stewart served as the first female president of the Minnesota Association of Realtors in 1989 and first female president of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce in 1996. She is one of six Rochester area representatives appointed to the committee.

Claire E. Bender, M.D., of Rochester, currently serves as the dean of the Mayo School of Health Sciences and as a professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. She also works as a practicing Mayo Clinic radiologist. Bender also currently serves as a member of the Board of Governors and chair of the academic affairs committee at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Bender will serve as the committee member with expertise in postsecondary academic planning and programming.

Allen J. Berning, of Rochester, has served as chairman and chief executive officer of PEMSTAR, Inc., since 1994. Prior to this, he had a 15 year career in engineering and management at IBM in Rochester. In 1999, Berning received the national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He is a current board member and past chair of the Greater Rochester Area University Center Board. Berning is one of six Rochester area representatives appointed to the committee.

Allan R. DeBoer, of Rochester, currently serves as development director for the Rochester Area Foundation. He also works as an attorney at the O'Brien & Wolf law firm. He has served on the Board of Trustees for Hamline University and the advisory committee of the University of Minnesota-Rochester Center. DeBoer currently serves as board member and chair of task force on higher education for the Greater Rochester Area University Center Board. DeBoer is one of six Rochester area representatives appointed to the committee.

Drew Flaada, of Rochester, currently serves as IBM Director of the IBM/Mayo Clinic Collaboration and Life Science development team. He has board experience in computer science, engineering, and management in his 23-year IBM career. Flaada previously served on the advisory board for the College of Engineering and Science at Minnesota State University-Mankato. He is a current board member of the Greater Rochester Area University Center Board. Flaada is one of six Rochester area representatives appointed to the committee.

Dwight A. Gourneau, of Rochester, currently serves as president of NAMTech, Inc., an information technology services consulting firm. He retired from IBM in 1992 as a senior engineering manager. Gourneau is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the Minnesota Private College Council. He is a current board member for the Bush Foundation and serves as chair of the Board of Trustees for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Gourneau is one of six Rochester area representatives appointed to the committee.

Robert H. Hoffman, of Waseca, is the current chair of the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU). He is a senior executive with Taylor Corporation based in North Mankato. Hoffman previously served as a senior executive for Brown Printing Company and as a school superintendent for Waseca Public Schools. He is a former president of the foundation board for Minnesota State University-Mankato. Hoffman is appointed as the committee member who is a Trustee of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Peggy Ingison, of New Brighton, is the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Finance. Prior to her appointment as commissioner in 2004, she served as state budget director for the Department of Finance. Ingison began her state government career in 1976, as an auditor for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Ingison, or her designee, is directed to serve on the committee and will serve as a non-voting member.

David R. Metzen, of South St. Paul, is a current member and immediate past chair of the Board of Regents for the University of Minnesota. He is a former teacher, principal and superintendent for South St. Paul Public Schools. Metzen has also served as chief executive officer and president of Metzen Leadership, executive director of the Dodge Nature Center, and as a consultant to Wold Architects. He is appointed as the committee member who is a Regent of the University of Minnesota.

Wendy S. Shannon, of Byron, currently serves as superintendent of Byron Public Schools. Prior to becoming superintendent in 1999, she served as executive director of the Zumbro Education District. Shannon is a pastchair of the advisory council of University Center Rochester. She currently serves as a member of the Southeast Minnesota Workforce Development Board. From 1993-1994, she served as chair of the Greater Rochester Area University Center Board. Shannon is one of six Rochester area representatives appointed to the committee.

Michael M. Vekich, of St. Louis Park, currently serves as chief executive officer for Vekich Associates, an independent accounting and management firm. He is a former chair of the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and is a former vice chair of the Minnesota Higher Education Services Council. A certified public accountant, Vekich is a current member of the Minnesota Board of Accountancy. Vekich will serve as the committee member with expertise in postsecondary finance and planning.

The Rochester Higher Education Development Committee will develop a proposal for the future of higher education in Rochester that will address institutional missions, the nature and focus of undergraduate and graduate programs to be developed, funding, site and facility needs and governance structures. The committee will issue its report to the legislature no later than January 15, 2006. The designated funding may be used for research, study and initial program implementation. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education will serve as fiscal agent for the committee's work. The development committee expires on December 31, 2007.


Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.