Scott Thiss elected chair of MnSCU Board of Trustees

Posted: June 16, 2010

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Wednesday elected Scott Thiss as board chair, Clarence Hightower as vice chair and Duane Benson as treasurer. Their one-year terms begin July 1.

“I am honored to have been elected chair of the system's Board of Trustees,” Thiss said. “This is a strong system of colleges and universities that plays a vital role in the state’s economic development and the quality of life. And I look forward to making it even stronger.” Thiss, who lives in Edina, is president and chief executive officer of Sailforth, LLC, an Edina consulting company.

Thiss also serves on several boards – Anderson Iron Works; Innovance, Inc., and Minnesota Business for Early Learning. He previously served as president and chief executive officer for S&W Plastics, LLC, in Eden Prairie. Thiss has served as chair of the board for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and is past board chair of the Normandale Community College Foundation.

Hightower, of Plymouth, is executive director of the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties. He previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis Urban League.

Benson, of Lanesboro, is executive director of the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation. He also was the executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership from 1994 to 2003, and he served in the Minnesota Senate from 1980 to 1994. Benson was the Senate minority leader for a period during that time. He owns and operates a cattle farm near Lanesboro and is active in numerous civic and charitable organizations.

The Board of Trustees governs the largest system of higher education in the state.

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