Kevin Gerdes is the Director of the Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) degree and Capstone programs at the Humphrey School. Prior to his assignment at the University of Minnesota, Kevin served 33 years with the Minnesota National Guard in a variety of leadership positions - including Commander at the Company, Battalion, and Brigade. He culminated his full-time career with the National Guard as The Adjutant General’s Chief of Staff and retired in July 2012 as Deputy Commanding General of the 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division. He completed a tour of duty in Iraq as Commander and returned in 2006 to help establish Minnesota's "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon " reintegration program – a cross-sector, community-based collaboration that became a national policy and program.
Kevin attended St John's University where he completed ROTC, and received a Bachelor's Degree in Management from Upper Iowa University. He earned a Master's Degree in Strategic Studies at the US Army War College and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. His research focus is on the interaction of converging cultures as new immigrants become residents in rural U.S. communities. He brings a practitioner approach to leadership and policy analysis in the public sector.
Kevin is married to his wife of 35 years and they live in Mahtomedi, MN. They have two sons – one a college graduate who is currently serving in the Army in Anchorage, Alaska; and the other a graduate from the University of North Dakota who is working in the Twin Cities. Kevin enjoys playing guitar, taking walks with his wife, and spending time outdoors.