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Performer Mayyadda singing at the University of Minnesota Juneteenth Celebration “We Are The Noise: The Echoes of Our Ancestors” captured on Saturday, June 15.
Best photos of June '24
Published June 23, 2024

Legislature elects UMN regents

The Minnesota Legislature elected Robyn Gulley, Mary Turner, Tadd Johnson and Penny Wheeler to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents in a joint session Monday night.
Image by CJ Bonk
The Minnesota State Capitol Building on Saturday, Jan. 28.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents gained three new members after the Minnesota Legislature elected candidates in a joint session on Monday night, giving the board a female majority.

New board members Robyn Gulley, Mary Turner and Penny Wheeler all received a majority of the votes. The Legislature also elected Regent Tadd Johnson, who currently sits on the board.

The Minnesota Legislature elects members of the 12-person board when a seat reaches the end of its six-year term. Regents Ken Powell, Steve Sviggum, Darrin Rosha and Johnson’s seats were up. Powell, Sviggum and Rosha will leave the board this month.

The selection process began in January when 12 candidates were recommended to the regent nomination joint committee by the Regent Candidate Advisory Council (RCAC). All four of the new regents were nominated by the joint committee in February to move on to the joint legislative session.

Gulley will represent District 2 on the board, which was previously held by Sviggum. She currently serves on the West St. Paul City Council and co-chairs Local Progress Minnesota, an organization of elected officials throughout the state who share policy ideas and outcomes.

Turner was elected to the District 3 seat previously held by Rosha. She is the president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, is currently an ICU nurse at North Memorial Medical Center and
served on President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force in 2021.

Rep. Marion O’Neill, R-Maple Lake, a member of the Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee, nominated William Humphries for the District 3 seat, but he did not receive enough votes. The RCAC recommended Humphries, a former University football player and current restaurant franchise owner, in January, but he was not nominated by the joint committee.

District 8 will continue to be represented by Johnson. He was appointed to the board by Gov. Tim Walz in 2022 after former regent David McMillan resigned from his position to become the interim chancellor of the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD).

Johnson served as the first senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations at the University, was the director of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute at UMD and holds a law degree from the University’s Law School.

Wheeler will hold one of the four At-Large seats. Former board chair Ken Powell re-ran to maintain this position but did not receive recommendations from the RCAC or the joint committee. Wheeler was the first female CEO of Allina Health and received her bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University. She worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist with Women’s Health Consultants and at Abbott Northwestern Hospital for nearly 30 years.

O’Neill also nominated University Student Government President Flora Yang for the At-Large seat, but she did not receive enough votes. Yang received an RCAC recommendation in January but was not selected by the joint committee.

The new regents begin their terms this month and will play a role in selecting the University’s new interim president.

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