University of Minnesota Welcomes Former Gov. Mark Dayton as Leadership Fellow

October 8, 2019
Portrait of Mark Dayton
Former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

We are pleased to announce that former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has joined the University of Minnesota’s Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL) as an Executive Leadership Fellow beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year. 

The Center is a University-wide initiative affiliated with five schools—the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the Carlson School of Management, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Public Health, and the Law School—focused on learning, research, and discussion to foster shared leadership for public good across government, business, and nonprofits. 

Executive Leadership Fellows are senior leaders from the government, business, or nonprofit sectors who generally spend a year at the Center working with students and faculty on various leadership activities. The fellowships, which are unpaid, are designed to provide flexibility so the leaders can participate in research, special projects, and classroom presentations. 

Dayton was governor of Minnesota for eight years, leaving office in January 2019. During his 40-year career in public service Dayton was also elected a United States senator and Minnesota state auditor, and served in a variety of other capacities in state government.  

Vanessa Laird, executive director of the Center, says she’s thrilled to welcome Dayton to the University.  

“Governor Dayton’s humility and dogged commitment to racial and economic equity, our natural environment, and evidence-based policymaking fit perfectly with the Center's mission of advancing regional prosperity through shared leadership,” Laird says. “We look forward to working with him to learn from his experiences of striving to better our common resources for all Minnesotans.”

Dayton’s office is located in the Humphrey School, where the Center is housed. Dean Laura Bloomberg says his accessibility to public policy students provides them a unique opportunity.  

“Over his remarkable professional life of public service, Governor Dayton has served the state of Minnesota in so many capacities that are highly relevant to the Humphrey School community,” says Bloomberg. “Our students are eager to engage with him and seek his advice as they embark on their own careers in public life.”

Dayton plans to participate in the life of the University and contribute his experience to students, faculty and other interested learners and scholars in a number of ways, Laird says. 

For example, he will work with a student team on the Gubernatorial Oral Histories Project, which is mentored by another CIL Executive Leadership Fellow, Patrick Coleman, archivist of the Minnesota State Historical Society.

Dayton also plans to work with Humphrey School Associate Professor Kathy Quick to assemble a series of reflections on collaboration and leadership, drawing on his time in and outside of government. He will also be available for scheduled student office hours and as a class discussant for University courses.