The University of Minnesota Alumni Association is overseen by a volunteer board of alumni from around the world.
The University of Minnesota Alumni Association is a 501©3 non-profit organization governed by a board of 27 directors. The Board of Directors represents at-large, council and ex-officio positions. See archived minutes of board meetings here.
Sandra Ulsaker Wiese
Graduation Year/Degree: B.A. ’81, Political Science; J.D. ’84, William Mitchell College of Law
Career: General Counsel and Sr. Vice President of Government Affairs, Data Recognition Corporation
Previously Vice President of Government Affairs at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and assistant vice president of law and corporate secretary at The St. Paul Companies, Inc.
I have also served in both state and federal government positions.
Interests and Hobbies: Gopher sports, politics, golf, tennis, and volunteer activities.
Favorite U of M memory: Walking down University Avenue from my sorority house to the stadium on a crisp fall day to attend a Gopher football game; a congressional internship that impacted my career choice; and great U of M professors and classes.
Graduation Year/Degree: B.A. ’85, Agricultural and Applied Economics
Career: Agriculture, retail, and real estate development, Otter Tail County Commissioner
Interests and Hobbies: Family, travel, Minnesota’s lakes, hunting, spectator sports, reading, agriculture.
Favorite U of M Memory: Graduation, Farmhouse, and having all three of my children attend the U of M.
Graduation Year/Degree: B.A. ’76, History; M.B.A. ’81, Finance; J.D. ‘86, Northwestern University School of Law
Career: Managing Director and Chief Counsel of Asset Management with Piper Jaffray Companies and its affiliate, Advisory Research. Director of Affiliated Fund, Advisory Research Global Funds, PLC, based in Ireland.
Interests and Hobbies: Travel, Gopher sports, and baseball.
Favorite U of M Memory: Going to Gopher basketball and football games.
Graduation Year/Degree: BSB ’80, Accounting
Career: Managing Director for Salo LLC, a human resources consulting organization
Interests and Hobbies: Golf, reading, and spending time with my family
Favorite U of M Memory: Graduation at Northrop in front of my wife and family. I was the first member of my family to graduate from college
Graduation Year/Degree: B.E.E. '82; J.D. '85
Career: Lawyer concentrating in intellectual property litigation for Merchant and Gould, P.C.; Head of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group.
Interests and Hobbies: Tennis, biking, traveling, and raising five kids.
Favorite U of M Memory: Sophomore year internship for Rep. Bill Frenzel in Washington D.C. during fall quarter 1980.
Graduation Year/Degree:B.S. '84, Geography
Career: Vice President, University Relations
Alumni Association President and CEO
Graduation Year/Degree: Graduated from the University of South Florida with degrees in marketing and public relations
Career: 28 years of alumni association experience at the University of South Florida in Tampa, the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and the University of Minnesota.
Favorite U of M Memory: Celebrating with thousands of fans in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl. It was a special moment of pride and loyalty for so many alumni.
Graduation Year/Degree: B.S. ’81, Business, Carlson School of Management
Career: Chairman and CEO of Interstate Hotels and Resorts
Interests and Hobbies: Golf, all outdoor activities, classical music, opera, and art
Favorite U of M Memory: The West Bank, Football Saturdays at Bierman Field and Basketball at the Barn
Student and Recent Alumni Council Director
Graduation Year/Degree: B.S. ’03, Economics; B.A. ’03 German
Career: Vice President of Global Products at Optum, a global healthcare corporation
Interests and Hobbies: Travel, home brewing, running, and volunteering
Favorite U of M Memory: Semester study abroad to Freiburg, Germany and watching Goldy slide down the dangerous Metrodome steps on a snow sled
President, Minnesota Professional Student Government
Graduation Year/Degree: J.D. ’18
Interests and Hobbies: Aspiring queso connoisseur and lover of 60 Minutes
Favorite U of M Memory: Seeing Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor speak
Graduation Year/Degree: B.B.A. ’83
Career: CEO, CFO, Partner, and Owner of Duncanson Growers; Duncanson Growers is a diversified farming operation, producing pork and growing corn, soybeans, and vegetable peas.
Interests and Hobbies:Avid Gopher fan
Student and Recent Alumni Council Director
Graduation Year/Degree: B.A. '95, Journalism
Career: Marketing and Events Director at Fort Worth, TX Magazine; Former Principal at FreiMARK Marketing + Events, held marketing and sales positions at Smile Network International, Mpls. St. Paul Magazine, Mall of America, Carlson Leisure Group/Carlson Companies, and the University of Minnesota Athletics Department
Interests and Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, dogs, travel, athletics, theater, the arts and music, and volunteerism.
Favorite U of M Memory: Many! Graduation commencement by Hillary Clinton, working as a nursing assistant at the U of MN Medical Center, the Minnesota Daily, Gopher sporting events and late nights at Bullwinkle's Saloon.
CSE Distinguished Professor
Graduation Year/Degree: B.C.E. ‘79, UMN; M.S. '80, UIUC; PhD. '84, UIUC
Career: Professor, University of Minnesota
Interests and Hobbies: Drawing, skiing, and hiking
Favorite U of M Memory: Great friends and working as an undergraduate research assistant.
Graduation Year/Degree: B.A. '08, Journalism
Career: Advisor and management consultant, Generate Consulting; Started my own company in 2007 after being a broadcast media executive for 20 years.
Interests and Hobbies: Mentoring, family, golf, Gopher sports!
Favorite U of M Memory: Walking Northrop Mall on a beautiful, crisp fall day.
Graduation Year/Degree: BA ’85, Political Science
Career: Owner of Jessen Press, Inc.
Interests and Hobbies: Season ticket holder for U of M Football and Men’s Basketball, golf, cabin up north, lawn bowling
Favorite U of M Memory: Many memories so tough to choose: Middlebrook Dorm, Football games, Campus Carni, great Professors. One that stands out even though it was kind of scary was the day I was studying for a French Mid-term at Wilson Library when I experienced severe chest pains. I stumbled across the Washington Avenue Bridge but ended up lying down on the lawn in front of Coffman. Two kindly professors from the Mechanical Engineering Department came to my aid and insisted they take me to Boynton where they diagnosed I had suffered a collapsed lung. The professors waited in the lobby until they knew I was ok. I was admitted to the University Hospital where I stayed for 4 days until my lung re-inflated and was well cared for. I visited the professors afterwards and thanked them for their help. The experience made me feel like I was part of a family at the U of M. And the French professor let me take the test upon my return…
President, University of Minnesota (ex-officio)
Graduation Year/Degree: B.S. '78, California Institute of Technology; Ph.D. '82, Chemical Engineering
Career: 16th president of the University of Minnesota.
Collegiate Council Director
Graduation Year and Degree: B.S. '71, College of Design
Career: Product designer & manufacturer, Wuxi Jinmao
Interests and Hobbies: Family activities, travel, volunteering, reading, & golf.
Favorite U of M Memory: Autumn on campus, homecoming, and ongoing discussions with professors about my future, business and design.
Peyton N. Owens, III
Golden Gopher Athletics
Graduation Year and Degree: B.A. '00, Kinesiology, College of William and Mary; M.S. '03, Sport Management and Leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University
Career: Associate Athletics Director, Student-Athlete Development/Diversity and Inclusion, University of Minnesota.
Interests and Hobbies: Exercise, fellowship with family, reading, and Gopher sports.
Favorite U of M Memory: Meeting with recruits and their parents, and Senior Celebration and Graduation.
Graduation Year and Degree: B.A. '00, Political Science
Career: Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service, Cambria USA; Served as Executive Director of Public Affairs for the Minnesota Twins and held community and government affairs with Piper Jaffray Companies, U.S. Bank, and Marquette Financial Companies
Interests and Hobbies: Golf, bird hunting, water skiing, boating, going to the cabin, family.
Favorite U of M Memory: Meeting my wife through Mark Allen (U of M Alumni Association) and Goldy Gopher!
Geographic Council Director
Graduation Year/Degree: M.B.A. ’92, Business Administration
Career: Working in the financial industry since 1987, and have held various leadership positions in Japanese bank and GE capital. Currently, I am a general manager of business promotion at Lotte Capital, a financial company of Korean-Japanese conglomerate
Interests and Hobbies: Swim competitively focusing on open water races and play jazz piano
Favorite U of M Memory: Working in the MBA office to help Carlson School’s efforts to recruit foreign students including Japan
President, Minnesota Student Association
Graduation Year/Degree: B.A. '18, Political Science
Interests and Hobbies: My interests lie in the intersection of politics, law, and human rights advocacy. I enjoy film photography, ice skating, and knitting.
Favorite U of M Memory: Bonding with new staff during Welcome Week my sophomore year when I was a Community Advisor for Territorial Hall.
Graduation Year/Degree: B.A. ’93; J.D. ‘97, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Career: Professional speaker & Communication Coach; Personal Brand Columnist for Twin Cities Business Magazine; Host of News & Views with Roshini Rajkumar of WCCO (CBS) Radio
Interests and Hobbies: Running, foodie, travel.
Favorite U of M Memory: Many but two standouts: 1) The ceremony and festivities around law school graduation 2) As adjunct faculty for two years in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, seated on the stage attending the graduation for the class of 2007 and one of my students picking me up and spinning me around as I hugged her.
Geographic Council Director
Graduation Year/Degree: B.A. '00, Communications and Political Science; M.A. '07, University of Southern California
Career: Head of business strategy and development at the Los Angeles Times. Adjunct professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Speaker, host and media personality. 17+ years in media publishing, advertising, public relations, digital and social media.
Interests and Hobbies: Hip hop culture and music, live and multimedia storytelling events, sports (Gophers, Trojans, Raiders, Timberwolves, Twins), spicy foods, inspirational books, progressive patriotism, and community service. Netflix says my favorite movies are "Critically-acclaimed Inspiring Biographical Dramas."
Favorite U of M Memory: As an undergraduate, I enjoyed many good times and opportunities with Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, the Minnesota Daily, Speak Magazine, the Public Achievement teaching program, and great internships, including one at the Clinton-Gore White House. But my favorite U of M memories are still being made -- with each and every Gopher gathering I'm able to attend in Minnesota, Los Angeles, or anywhere we may happen to meet!
President and Chief Executive Officer, University of Minnesota Foundation
Graduation Year/Degree: M.B.A. ‘97
Career: Executive leadership in the private and public sector.
Collegiate Council Director
Graduation Year/Degree: Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering ’88; Minnesota Executive Program '04
Career: Rosemount Inc: 1988-1993, NordicTrack: 1993-1995, Medtronic: 1995-Current
Interests and Hobbies: Playing golf, boating, fishing, skiing (downhill and cross country), traveling, reading, and attending U of M activities
Favorite U of M Memory: Walking across the bridge between East and West Bank (what a beautiful view of the city) and most importantly, walking across the stage in Northrup to get my diploma!
Graduation Year/Degree: BSB '96, Corporate Finance
Career: With Carlson Wagonlit Travel since 1997, formerly manager, director and now the Vice President of Meetings and Events
Collegiate Council Director
Graduation Year/Degree: B.S. ’10, Animal Science
Career: Production agriculture/Food Safety, Sparboe Companies
Interests and Hobbies: Traveling, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, volunteering at various poultry industry events and CFANS events, and sharing my story as a “city girl gone ag” in hopes of inspiring youth to pursue a career in agriculture
Favorite U of M Memory: My favorite memory from the U of MN would have to be my study abroad trip to Norway. I was able to earn my history credits through hands on study of the natural history of Norway and its similarities to Minnesota. It was an amazing experience learning about the native Sami culture, Norwegian wildlife, Norwegian agriculture, and their geological origins. The highlight of the trip was going to Runde Island and hiking to the top to see puffins in flight as they came in to nest for the evening. I’ll never forget how such a tiny bird could sound like a jet as it zipped by.