Ten regent candidates, five open spots

The state Legislature will vote this spring on who will fill the vacant board positions.

by Christopher Aadland

Ten candidates are vying for five open seats on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. State legislators will vote on the Regent-hopefuls this spring, deciding who receives the spots.

(Also see: Candidate pool flawed, students say)

Earlier this month, the Regent Candidate Advisory Council — comprising state leaders, legislators and a University student — recommended the top contenders from across the state. Here is the list:

 

Richard Beeson District 4

Residence: St. Paul, Minn.

Current Position: Executive Vice President of Sunrise Banks; Chair of the Board of Regents.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University; master’s degree in business administration from the University of Saint Thomas.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I believe I have been an effective leader for the board in furthering the University’s mission and performance, and have contributed to its progress in a number of fronts.

 

Michael Hsu District 6

Residence: Blaine, Minn.

Current Position: President and Co-founder at TeeMaster Corporation.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I have a deep passion for the University. I have a lot of experience related to large and small companies, as well as information systems and the use of technology in decision-making, and I have a lifelong appreciation for higher education.

 

Mike Yost District 7

Residence: Murdock, Minn.

Current Position: Owner and General Manager of Yost Farm.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from the University.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I’ve spent my entire career in food and agriculture, which is probably the number one industry in the state of Minnesota. … I’m a University grad and proud of the University and what it’s done for the state of Minnesota.

 

Tom Anderson District 7

Residence: Alexandria, Minn.

Current Position: Funeral director and part-owner of Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in mortuary science from the University.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I think I have a very broad base, and with my background in economic development. I know the issues that everyday Minnesotans go through. … I’ve got a very, very broad understanding of what greater Minnesotans need.

 

Tom Sorel District 4

Residence: Woodbury, Minn.

Current Position: Vice President of KLJ Engineering’s Twin Cities operations; former Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University at Buffalo; master’s degree in business administration from Thomas College.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I’ve had a lot of different assignments and positions, and with each I progressed in my leadership. … One of the things I’ve been passionate about is community. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been involved with the academic community and research.

 

Paula Prahl District 3

Residence: Long Lake, Minn.

Current Position: Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Värde Partners; former Best Buy executive.

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Smith College; master’s degree from the University.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I have the sort of broad cross-section of experience that spans that public-private space. … Whether it’s partnering with businesses or focusing on the strategy of the University, I think I bring the right set of experiences to that table.

 

Claire Bender District 1

Residence: Rochester, Minn.

Current Position: Retired physician and professor at the Mayo Clinic.

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University; doctorate from University of Nebraska; masters of public health from the University.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I know the business of education. [Over the last 30 years] I’ve developed programs, curriculum, served on committees, and a year ago I finished a 12-year tenure as one of the five deans at Mayo.

 

Randy SimonsonDistrict 1

Residence: Worthington, Minn.

Current Position: CEO and President of Grazix Animal Health Inc.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology from California Polytechnic State University; doctorate from the University in veterinary microbiology.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I have a lot of experience that [I] can apply to the position … I’ve been involved in research and would make sure we use our intellectual property as a better income source.

 

Michael Belzer District 3

Residence: Edina, Minn.

Current Position: Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Education: Bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I’ve been a doctor and senior health care executive for over 25 years in a very complex and diverse environment with over 6,000 employees. I understand very well the challenges of the Academic Health Center.

 

Steve Laraway District 6

Residence: St. Cloud, Minn.

Current Position: President and CEO of Laraway Financial Advisors Inc.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Saint Thomas; J.D., Marquette University.

Why should you be chosen to be a Regent?

I have a great deal of experience in governance. … I’ve been involved with nonprofits … over the last 10 years. I’ve been involved with the Saint Cloud Hospital and CentraCare.