Yudof to import Texan to serve as his chief of staff

by Jim Martyka

University President-elect Mark Yudof on Monday appointed a fellow Longhorn as his new chief of staff to help in advising and implementing presidential policy.
Tonya Moten Brown, who is currently assistant dean for admissions at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, will take over the post from Mario Bognanno on August 4, one month after Yudof assumes the presidency from University President Nils Hasselmo.
“Coming in as an outsider, I felt it was very important to have someone who I knew I could trust and who would understand my way of doing business,” Yudof said.
Brown received her law degree from Texas–Austin after completing a bachelor’s degree in personnel-labor relations at the University of Pennsylvania.
At Texas, she worked extensively to recruit students, especially students of color, to the school. She has also served on numerous committees dealing with faculty member and student concerns.
“She has been a great administrator here,” Yudof said.
Before taking her current position at Texas, Brown worked as a trial attorney for two Texas-based law firms.
Brown has also worked with Yudof on several committees at the University of Texas since she took her current position and said she thought this was a reason Yudof selected her.
“I feel President-elect Yudof and I have a long history and that he has the level of confidence and trust in my abilities based on our working together over the years,” Brown said.
Though she has never been to the University, Brown said she is excited to come here.
“I’ve seen some very nice (promotional) videos,” she said, laughing.
Brown also said she has a firm grasp on what her role at the University will be.
“I think my role is to assist Yudof in implementing the vision that he has for the University of Minnesota through actions both internal and external,” she said.
Yudof said he also has high expectations for Brown, who will earn about $105,000 per year in the position.
“I expect her to be involved in all major policy decisions,” he said. “I view her as a very strong implementer.”
Hasselmo also praised Yudof’s choice. “Ms. Brown will make a significant contribution to the University and the community and will be an invaluable colleague in the upcoming administration,” he said.
Brown will be at the University tomorrow and Thursday with Yudof for briefings.
She and her family will move to Minnesota in July. Bognanno, who is scheduled to return to his faculty position in the Carlson School of Management, will assist Yudof until Brown takes over.