July 17, 2008
David Olson re-elected chair of Board of Trustees; four retiring presidents receive emeritus statusRevised: July 18, 2008
Contact: Melinda Voss, (651) 296-9443, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees on Wednesday re-elected David Olson, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, as board chair; Ruth Grendahl as vice chair; and Scott Thiss as treasurer. Their one-year terms begin Aug. 1.
“I am pleased and honored to have been elected chair of the system's Board of Trustees for a second year and pledge to continue forging partnerships between the business community and our state colleges and universities,” Olson said. “Building a quality workforce is essential to a vibrant economy, and our state's colleges and universities play a vital role in that effort by delivering the best possible education while making effective use of sources.” Olson, who lives in Minnetonka, has been president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce since 1991.
Olson also noted, “We must make sure that more students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education complete a post-secondary program to ensure their own financial stability as well as contributing to the economic vitality of the state.”
In addition to his other positions, Olson has served as president of Minnesotans for Better Roads and Transit, a coalition focused on improving the state’s transportation system, and serves as co-chair of the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council. Before joining the Minnesota Chamber, Olson was president of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce and served as executive director of the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce. He also has held staff positions in economic development, transportation and energy at the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce.
Grendahl of Apple Valley, is an owner of RnD Products, a business that markets electrical construction products nationally. A member of the Apple Valley City Council since 1997, she also has served as deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Service. In 2004, she was appointed chair of the Minnesota Livable Communities Advisory Committee by the Metropolitan Council, and she has served as commissioner, treasurer and finance committee chair of the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority. She has served on the College of Science, Engineering and Technology Industrial Advisory Board at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Thiss of Edina, is president and chief executive officer for Sailforth, Inc., an Edina holding company, and previously served as president and chief executive officer for S&W Plastics, LLC, in Eden Prairie. Thiss serves on several boards, including Habitat for Technology and Anderson Iron Works. In addition, he is a member of the board of Innovance, Inc. and past chair of the boards of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Normandale Community College Foundation.
In other business, the board conferred president emeritus status on Roland Barden, retiring president of Minnesota State University Moorhead; Roy Saigo, previous president of St. Cloud State University; Joseph Sertich, retiring president of the Northeast Higher Education District, a consortium of five colleges; and Ronald Wood, retiring president of Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Granite Falls. Under board policy, the trustees can confer emeritus status on a president who has served at least five years and is retiring from the system. This honor carries no compensation or other financial benefits.
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 420,000 students across the state.