Vice Provost Craig Swan to retire in December

Of Swan’s 38 years at the University, 10 were spent as provost.

by Betsy Graca

After 38 years at the University, Craig Swan, vice provost of undergraduate education, and economics professor, plans to retire in December.

Swan was appointed as provost in 1997 by University President Bob Bruininks, who said he’s known Swan for 20 years.

Swan transformed undergraduate education and will be deeply missed, Bruininks said.

“He leaves behind a tremendous legacy,” he said.

Swan has been a leader in improving financial support and providing scholarships for low-income students, expanding student employment and reforming advising resources, Bruininks said.

Although Swan’s work has been a key to enhancing undergraduate education at the University, Swan said he didn’t act alone.

“There’s very little that any single individual does at a place like the University,” Swan said. “When things happen it’s because a lot of people work together and a lot of people are committed.”

Swan said his original attraction to the University was because of its impressive economics department.

“It is one of the nation’s, and one of the world’s, leading departments of economics,” Swan said.

As an instructor, Swan taught several economics courses at the University, including econometrics and macroeconomics on all levels. His research, however, has focused on national policy in housing and mortgage.

The University has undergone enormous changes since Swan began teaching in 1969, specifically in enhanced classroom technology. The Internet has had a vast effect on undergraduate education, Swan said.

Technology isn’t the only thing that changed over Swan’s University tenure.

“Students are better prepared, more motivated and more serious today,” he said.

Swan worked closely with the Minnesota Student Association, as the primary contact regarding undergraduate affairs.

Nathan Wanderman, a recent University graduate and former student representative to the regents, said he considered Swan a mentor.

“He clearly puts in a lot of effort every day with the University’s best interest in mind,” Wanderman said. “I can do nothing but wish him the best.”

University alumnus and 2003 MSA President Josh Colburn said he feels Swan’s retirement will be a real loss for the University.

“I’m really disappointed students will not be able to benefit from him in the future,” Colburn said. “It’s sad to see his leadership leaving the University because he’s very attentive to students’ needs.”

Swan said spending more time with his family and two grandchildren was a motivating factor in his decision to retire. He said he also plans to travel more and has a large stack of books at home he would like to finally tackle.

Although he looks forward to retirement, he said he will miss his time at the University.

“This really is one of the nation’s great Universities,” he said. “It’s really been a privilege to be a part of that and to get to know both outstanding students and outstanding colleagues.”