Humphrey School News—February 25, 2020

[Canceled] Humphrey School to Recognize Visionaries and Groundbreakers with 2020 Public Leadership Awards


Long shot of the 2019 Public Leadership Awards dinner at McNamara Alumni Center.
The 2019 Public Leadership Awards dinner at McNamara Alumni Center. Photo: Bruce Silcox

Please note: The 18th Annual Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Awards, presented by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, has been postponed to Spring 2021.

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is recognizing former White House Chief of Staff and Markle Foundation Senior Advisor Denis McDonough, science and higher education pioneer Reatha Clark King, and utility provider Xcel Energy with 2020 Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Awards, co-presented by Best Buy and Target.

The award was established in honor of the Humphrey School’s namesake, Hubert H. Humphrey, to recognize individuals who have contributed to the common good through leadership and service. This year’s awardees join a prestigious list of recipients that includes Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Vice President Walter Mondale, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Friedman, and civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. See the list of previous award recipients.

This year’s awards recognize remarkable leaders who share an uncommon belief in human potential; who set bold goals, break barriers, emphasize team building, and use empathy to advance our common well-being as both local neighbors and global citizens.

Proceeds from the awards dinner support the Humphrey Public Leaders Fellowship. 


Head shot of Denis McDonoughDENIS MCDONOUGH, a Minnesota native, is currently senior principal at the Markle Foundation, where he chairs the Rework America Task Force, a national initiative to transform the labor market so that all Americans can thrive in the digital economy. From February 2013 to January 2017, McDonough served as White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama.

Head shot of Reatha Clark KingREATHA CLARK KING is emeritus chairman of the board of the National Association of Corporate Directors. She is well known for her pioneering service in chemistry, higher education, business, philanthropy, and community service. Over her distinguished career, she served as president of Metropolitan State University and held leadership positions at General Mills and the General Mills Foundation. Most recently, she has focused on corporate and organizational governance and advancing board excellence. 

Xcel Energy logoXCEL ENERGY, based in Minnesota, provides power to millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. In 2018, the company launched Destination 2050, setting a goal to provide its customers with 100% carbon-free electricity by the year 2050.

Head shot of Lee WallaceIn addition, Humphrey School alumna LEE WALLACE (MPP ‘05) will be recognized as a recipient of the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest award the University presents to alumni. Wallace is the owner and CEO of Peace Coffee.


Corporate logos of Target and Best Buy

For information about sponsorships, contact Gwendolyn Freed, Humphrey School director of development, at 612-625-9588 or

For media inquiries, contact Melanie Sommer, communications manager, at 612-624-3566 or

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