The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

Sen. Sandy Pappas joins UMRA forum for candid discussion of regent selection

Tue, January 24 2023, 12pm

State Sen. Sandy Pappas joined legislative analyst Nathan Hopkins for UMRA’s January 2023 forum on the selection and election of University of Minnesota regents. They gave a master class on how this is accomplished and were candid about the process. Four regents are to be elected by the Minnesota Legislature in the coming weeks.

The process begins with the Regent Candidate Advisory Council (RCAC), a bipartisan group of individuals appointed by the Legislature to recruit and interview candidates and recommend to the Legislature the candidates to consider. In early January, the RCAC recommended 12 candidates for the four seats up for election. Most notably, the RCAC did not recommended the reelection of Ken Powell, the current chair of the Board of Regents. Sitting regents Steve Swiggum and Darrin Rosha did not apply through the RCAC process.

The Legislature can add candidates during the committee process, and any legislator can nominate a candidate from the floor during the joint session of the House and Senate conducted to elect the regents. Hopkins pointed out that this alternative way of election has been utilized as recently as 2021. He observed that the process, at the end, is very fluid and can produce unexpected results.

A political process  

Pappas was even more forthcoming. She said, "The elections are a political process, and in recent years whichever party has had the majority has picked individuals aligned with the majority party." She noted that this year the Democrats are in the majority (104 to 97). She also noted that, occasionally, there is a bipartisan choice for a well-qualified candidate. Her example was Powell, the former CEO of General Mills.

Hopkins explained that the selection process is set forth in the University of Minnesota Charter, which was passed by the Territorial Legislature, perpetuated by the Minnesota Constitution, and affirmed by several Minnesota Supreme Court decisions.

Pappas and Hopkins emphasized that individuals can affect the election by expressing their preferences to their legislative representatives. Both thought that input from members of UMRA, who are very familiar with the University, would be particularly valuable.

To have an even bigger voice, Pappas suggested that UMRA members seriously consider applying to be on the RCAC, and possibly consider running to be a regent.

RCAC openings are publicized on the secretary of state’s website, Hopkins said. The next election to fill four seats on the Board of Regents will be in 2025.

As you may know, in mid-January MinnPost published an UMRA commentary about regent selection. Our primary message: The selection of regents should focus on fiduciary responsibility to the University and seek people of accomplishment and high integrity who will set aside political agendas.

The 2023 regent election will most likely occur in late February or early March. So let your representatives know what you think. Our thanks to Sandy Pappas and Nathan Hopkins for a well-presented and educational forum.

—Bill Donohue, UMRA Program Committee member

Event recording
Click on , then    to view recording in full screen.




A preview of the 2023 UMN regent selection process

Tue, January 24 2023, 12pm
Nathan Hopkins
Legislative analyst
Minnesota House of Representatives

Event to be held via Zoom.

UMRA’s January 2023 forum will feature Nathan Hopkins, legislative analyst at the Minnesota House of Representatives, for a discussion of how regents of the University of Minnesota are chosen. The 12 members of the Board of Regents serve staggered 6-year terms. Every two years, one-third of the seats are up for election.

Our forum at noon on Tuesday, January 24, via Zoom will be particularly timely because four seats are up for election in the 2023 legislative session.

The regents comprise the most important governance body for the University. They are responsible for everything from choosing the president to establishing budgets, tuition, and all major policies.

A list of 29 applicants for the four seats was announced in early December by the Regents Candidate Advisory Council (RCAC). The RCAC will recommend candidates for the four positions in mid-January, typically two or three for each seat, and the Legislature will conduct a rare joint session of the Minnesota House and Senate to elect the regents in February. It is an arcane process prescribed by the University Charter and a couple of statutes.

As reported by The Minnesota Daily, the list of applicants includes former regent Michael Hsu, law professor Richard Painter, and current undergraduate student government president Flora Yang. The deadline to apply was December 6.

Hopkins, a non-partisan legislative analyst in the House Research Department, will explain for us the process. He is the expert who explains the process—including the selection criteria, the needs of the board, and its gender, racial, and ethnic balance—to the regent nomination joint legislative committee, so we will be as well informed as members of the Legislature on how this is done.         

Of the four positions open for election this year, three represent congressional districts and one is elected from the state at large. The regents currently holding those seats and the years they were elected are:

  • 2nd Congressional District (south Twin Cities metro area and southeastern Minnesota), Regent Steve Swiggum, 2011, 2017
  • 3rd Congressional District (suburbs of Hennepin, Carver, and Anoka counties), Regent Darrin Rosha 1989, 2015, 2017
  • 8th Congressional District (northeastern Minnesota including Duluth), Tadd M. Johnson, 2022 (appointed to fill the remainder of an existing term)
  • At-large seat, Chair of the Board Kendall J. Powell, 2017

Neither Swiggum nor Rosha re-applied for their seat.

Hopkins is a graduate of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and has practiced law in both the public and private sectors. He has served in his current role since 2016. His responsibilities include staffing committees; drafting legislation; and providing policy analysis to members of the Minnesota House, focusing on civil law, government data practices, and higher education.

Please register for this Zoom webinar and join us at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24, to discuss the election of the people who govern the University.

—Bill Donohue, UMRA Program Committee

Upcoming Events

Event Date: October 2, 2023, at 9:30am

We will meet at the Mel-O-Glaze bakery on 28th and Minnehaha Parkway and walk to Minnehaha Falls and then back again.

Event Date: October 3, 2023, at 1pm

Some of the most valuable and rare maps in the world are held in UMN's own James Ford Bell Library, housed in Andersen Library  See https://www.lib.umn.edu/collections/special/bell .

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

The first meeting of UMRA’s Family History Interest Group for 2023–24 will feature a presentation by Marilyn DeLong about sharing family stories and learning surprising family connections. 

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

UMRA has a special opportunity to engage with the four newest members of the U of M Board of Regents on Wednesday, October 4, via Zoom. The purpose of the event is to share our perspectives as former University employees. 

Event Date: October 10, 2023, at 12:30pm

All UMRA members with an interest in photography are welcome to attend the meeting of the UMRA Photo Club on Tuesday, October 10. We welcome photographers of all abilities. Most of us are struggling amateurs. We laugh a lot and learn from sharing and talking about our pictures.

Event Date: October 16, 2023, at 9:30am

The walk along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is always changing, with many attractions being added along both sides of the river and, now, the beautiful fall colors.

Event Date: October 19, 2023, at 11am

UMRA’s workshop on Open Enrollment for U of M retiree health plans for 2024 will include a briefing on the choice between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans, by Jeff Snegosky of BCBS of Minnesota, followed by an overview of the U of M’s retiree health insurance plans, by Katie Kolodge from the Office of Human Resources.

Event Date: October 20, 2023, at 2pm

Mary Jane Towle will lead the discussion of The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

Event Date: October 24, 2023, at 11am

To help us understand the growing movement in the U.S. to ban books, especially children’s literature, and the critical role of libraries to protect intellectual freedom, UMRA will welcome U of M Librarian Lisa Von Drasek (pictured) and Rochester Public Librarian Kimberly Edson as the guest speakers for our October luncheon forum at Midland Hills. 

Event Date: October 27, 2023, at 2pm

The Fourth Friday Book Club will meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT on October 27 to discuss the life and narrative of Frederick Douglass.

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:30am

Join us for a 5 mile moderately paced hike around Pleasant Lake located in the heart of North Oaks.  It takes us past some of James J. Hill’s original farm buildings as well as beautiful homes built along the lakeshore. The trail is wide, generally flat and consists of packed dirt and crushed rock. 

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:40am

The documents noted for this event specify your managers and can minimize income taxes now, and estate taxes. 

Event Date: November 7, 2023, at 1pm

The material world we live in is shaped by design. While popular discussions of design typically focus on fashion and furniture, design is fundamental in art, architecture, and indeed nearly all aspects of the everyday world around us.  Goldstein Museum of Design curator Jean McElvain will demonstrate and discuss some of the fascinating and often unexpected holdings before we walk through the current gallery exhibit.

Event Date: November 27, 2023, at 9am - December 3, 2023, at 5pm

Get an insider's perspective on Santa Fe and Taos alongside local artists, exploring the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, enjoying traditional music and learning about native cultures. The deadline for reserving a space is June 2, 2023.

Event Date: December 4, 2023, at 9:30am

Please join us for an invigorating hike from The Monument located at the intersection of Mississippi RIver Blvd and Summit Avenue in St. Paul to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and back.  This hike is on paved trails, approximately 5.5 miles in length, and will be at a pace suitable to the weather.

Event Date: December 13, 2023, at 11:30am

Topics include tax changes; tax reducing moves required now and tax management in 2024 & 2025.