Humphrey School News

Two Twin Cities Community Leaders with Ties to Humphrey School Receive University Honors

January 31, 2017
Paul Williams and Eric Jolly

Two advisors to the Humphrey School of Public Affairs have been named recipients of the University of Minnesota’s highest awards.

Paul Williams, president and CEO of Project for Pride in Living and a Humphrey School alumnus, receives the University’s Outstanding Achievement Award, which is given to University faculty, staff, and alumni.

Eric Jolly, president and CEO of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, receives the University’s Award of Distinction, which is given to members of the community who are not alumni, faculty, or staff of the University. 

The awards recognize individuals who have attained distinction in their field, profession, and/or public or volunteer service. Both men are members of the Humphrey School dean’s advisory council.

Williams (pictured at left) and Jolly (at right) are highly regarded leaders of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations that serve low-income and under-served populations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and throughout Minnesota, and are extensively involved in other community-building efforts. 

Humphrey School Dean Eric Schwartz praised their accomplishments, saying they are tremendous role models for students.

“At the Humphrey School, our mission is to inspire, educate, and support innovative leaders to advance the common good in a diverse world,” said Schwartz. “Paul and Eric implement and extend that mission in countless ways.”

Paul Williams

Williams is president and CEO of Project for Pride in Living, one of the Twin Cities’ premier nonprofit organizations creating hope and opportunity for thousands of low-income people through housing, employment training, and education. A native of St. Paul, he earned a Master of Public Affairs at the Humphrey School in 1990.

Williams has dedicated his career to creating partnerships and building community, both locally and nationally. He previously served as deputy mayor of St. Paul, managing city operations impacting every facet of civic life.  He also spent two decades spearheading high-impact inner-city revitalization in the Twin Cities and in 30 cities nationwide, first as a grant maker for The Minneapolis Foundation and The Saint Paul Foundation, and subsequently as a senior leader for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Williams is described in his award nomination as a “nimble, high-impact nonprofit leader,” with deep roots in the community and a love for people that “elevates all that he does.”

Eric Jolly

Jolly is president and CEO of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, a network of some 2,000 foundations, funds, and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans. He has dedicated his professional life to enhancing the human experience, and giving voice to those without.

He previously served for 11 years as president and CEO of the Science Museum of Minnesota, where he grew attendance, revenue, and engagement, while also becoming a national voice on the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. He advances national science policy in education as chair of the National Academies of Science Expert STEM Panel.

Jolly is described in his award nomination as a “transformational leader,” whose ability to think and work across disciplines such as science, education, and the humanities is needed to meet the challenges of our complex world.

Williams and Jolly formally received their awards at a February 2 recognition breakfast at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. 

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