Governor Pawlenty appoints four to the MnSCU Board of Trustees

Posted: June 26, 2006

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

News Release from the Office of Governor Tim Pawlenty

Saint Paul - Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the appointment of Dan McElroy, Christine D. Rice, C. Scott Thiss, and James F. Van Houten to the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State College and University (MnSCU) system.

"Each of these individuals has a proven record as an innovator and change agent. The MnSCU system will benefit from their leadership," said Governor Pawlenty. "An effective MnSCU is a key to Minnesota's continued success and economic growth. These appointees understand the benefits of a strong partnership between higher education and the private sector."

Dan McElroy, of Burnsville, currently serves as Senior Advisor on Innovation for Governor Pawlenty. He previously served as Chief of Staff to the Governor and as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Finance. Prior to joining the Pawlenty administration in January 2003, McElroy served four terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives. In the House, he served as Assistant Majority Leader and as Chairman of the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee. McElroy also served as mayor of Burnsville.

In addition to his public service career, McElroy has extensive private sector experience. In 1979, he purchased a small travel agency. Along with two partners, he grew it to eight offices, 80 employees, and almost $40 million in sales, before it was sold in 1992. McElroy received a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. He is a resident of the second Congressional District and is appointed to an at-large seat on the board. McElroy will serve a six-year term which ends June 30, 2012. He replaces Bob Hoffman on the board.

Christine Rice, of Lake Elmo, is an active community and civic volunteer with strong public sector experience. She served as deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health from 1995 to 1997. Rice served as assistant commissioner of the department from 1993 to 1995, and as director of public and legislative affairs from 1991 to 1993. From 1987 to 1991 she served as assistant to the minority leader at the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Rice is a current member of the Commission on Judicial Selection and the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators. She is a former board member of the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco, a current board member and former board president of the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, and a former gubernatorial appointee to the Advisory Council of Community Based Planning. Rice received a B.A. in speech and communication from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She is a resident of the sixth Congressional District and is appointed to a six-year term which ends June 30, 2012. Rice replaces Will Antell on the board.

Scott Thiss, of Edina, currently serves as president and chief executive officer for Sailforth, Inc., in Edina. He previously served as president and chief executive officer for S&W Plastics, LLC, in Eden Prairie. Thiss currently serves as a board member and chair of the governance committee for Innovance, Inc. Thiss previously served as chair of the board, chair of the small business policy committee, and chair of the strategy committee for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

Thiss currently serves as chair of the board of the Normandale Community College Foundation. He also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Northwestern University Alumni Association. Thiss received a B.S.B.A. and a MBA from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and holds a CPA certificate. He is a resident of the third Congressional District and is appointed to an at-large seat on the board. Thiss will serve a six-year term which ends June 30, 2012. He replaces Ivan Dusek on the board.

Jim Van Houten, of Minneapolis, currently serves as a senior lecturer at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. He also serves as an instructor at the University's Humphrey Institute. Van Houten was a founding board member of the Strategic Management Research Center at the University's Carlson School. He capped a extensive business career in 2002, last serving as president and chief executive officer for MSI Insurance Companies in Arden Hills. Van Houten currently serves as chair of the development committee for the Milestone Growth Fund, a nonprofit venture capital firm for minority businesses. He also serves on the board of the Hill Business Reference Library in St. Paul.

Van Houten is a former board member of the Minnesota Business Partnership, where he served on the education and policy committees. He also previously served as chair of the board of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota. Van Houten received a B.A. in English from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, and a MBA from Illinois State University in Bloomington, Illinois. He is a resident of the fifth Congressional District and is appointed to a six-year term which ends June 30, 2012. Van Houten replaces Lew Moran on the board.


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