Health concerns leave void in U’s governing council

by Than Tibbetts

Regent Richard “Pinky” McNamara announced his resignation Friday from the University’s Board of Regents because of “health reasons.”

University News Service director Daniel Wolter said Gov. Tim Pawlenty will appoint someone to fill the remainder of McNamara’s term, which lasts through 2007.

Regent Clyde Allen said McNamara has been a valuable member of the board.

“We will miss him,” he said.

University President Bob Bruininks and acting Chairwoman of the Board Patricia Simmons thanked McNamara for his service in a statement released by the University on Friday.

Former Gov. Jesse Ventura appointed McNamara to one of the board’s four at-large seats in 2001. He was then elected to the position in 2003.

McNamara, 72, is a 1956 graduate of the University’s College of Liberal Arts, according to his Board of Regents biography.

The Hastings native attended the University on an athletic scholarship and was a three-time letter winner on the football team.

He also has been a major donor to the University. As the founder and owner of Activar, he gave $10 million to the University in 1998, $3 million of which went toward the construction of the McNamara Alumni Center. The building which bears his name serves as the site of the monthly Board of Regents meetings.

McNamara’s participation with the University isn’t over now that he has resigned as a regent. He also serves on the board of directors for the University Foundation and the M Club, according to a University news release.

In a letter sent Thursday to Simmons, McNamara said he is proud to be associated with the University, and “deeply grateful for the opportunity to provide continuous service and contributions to the University of Minnesota, an institution that transformed my life and means so much to the state of Minnesota.”