Legislature to pick four new regents from 12 finalists

Paul Sand

A state advisory committee recommended 12 finalists to the Legislature to fill four open seats on the University’s Board of Regents.

The Regents Candidate Advisory Council interviewed 18 applicants – including former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state senator Roger Moe – interested in filling the board seats, said council chairwoman Rondi Erickson.

Moe, along with Clyde Allen Jr. and Art Brandli, are finalists for the Seventh District.

Al DeBoer, Dwight Gourneau and Patricia Simmons are finalists in the First District. Fourth District finalists are Gregory Filice, Marcia Hanson and current Regent David Metzen. Sixth District finalists are John Frobenius, Steven Hunter and Regent Chairwoman Maureen Reed.

The final four candidates will assume their board seats immediately following legislators’ approval, which is expected sometime this session.

Under the University’s charter, if the Legislature is unable to vote, the governor can appoint members. That happened during 2001 regent selections, leaving Gov. Jesse Ventura to appoint five regents.

Erickson said the council received 66 applications for the open seats and had a difficult time narrowing down the applicant pool because of the quality of the applicants.

“We think we’ve sent forward a group that has strong skills and diverse skills that the Legislature can select from,” she said.

The 12-member Board of Regents is responsible for directing the University. The board approves long-range polices and programs and the University’s annual budget. Regents serve six-year terms and are not paid.

Candidates were asked about the state’s current budget crisis and how it relates to University funding in their interviews, Erickson said.

“All the candidates Ö felt that they would be able to have a positive contribution towards managing in tight times,” she said.

Applicants must have governing board experience and an understanding of the University’s role in the state’s higher education system in order to be considered by the board.

Candidates must also be Minnesota residents, have a record of civic involvement and not have a conflict of interest in serving on the board.

Reed and Metzen are seeking their second terms as regents.

Statewide congressional redistricting left Metzen out of his district by less than two blocks. He said if he is elected to another term, he will sell his house and move into the new Fourth District.

Metzen said working with University President Robert Bruininks is a reason he is seeking re-election.

“I would like to be part of his team,” Metzen said.

Rochester, Minn., business and estate lawyer Al DeBoer said he is honored to be among the finalists.

DeBoer, who has served two terms on the Rochester public school board and on the advisory committee at the University’s Rochester campus, said serving as a regent is the state’s premier higher education service position.

“I’ve really been dedicated most of my life to service Ö and I see this as really the epitome of service,” he said.