During Women’s History Month, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs recognizes the significant contributions of the many women who have helped to lead the School, teach its students, conduct transformative research, and contribute to its mission in a variety of ways. Here we highlight a few of them.
The wife of our School’s namesake, Hubert H. Humphrey, Muriel Humphrey was a leader in her own right. She grew up in South Dakota where she met her husband, and later became his political partner and advisor before filling his seat in the U.S. Senate after his death in 1978.
Joan and Walter Mondale advanced public policy at the intersection of art and politics. Joan was the champion of the arts, ambassador of cultural diplomacy, and unfailing supporter of her husband's political career. She relished the role of political spouse. In honor of their public service, in 2018 the Humphrey School renamed its main public gathering space the Joan and Walter Mondale Commons.
Arvonne Fraser joined the Humphrey School in 1982 as a senior fellow, and shortly afterward she began working with other women leaders in Minnesota to establish the Center on Women and Public Policy (now known as the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy)—the nation’s first complete teaching, research, and outreach center devoted to women and public policy.
Josie Robinson Johnson
Minnesota civil rights icon Josie Robinson Johnson has dedicated her life to promoting equality and inclusion, and breaking down barriers to opportunity. As a tribute to her lifelong leadership, the Humphrey School established the Josie Robinson Johnson Fellowship to support graduate students at the School who have specific interests in addressing racial inequities and injustice.
Laura Bloomberg served as dean of the Humphrey School from 2017 to 2021, and was a role model to many students as the first woman to hold that position. She led the School in a thoughtful, respectful, and caring manner, even while managing a variety of difficult situations during her tenure.
Nisha Botchwey, who began her tenure as dean in January, is the first woman of color and first immigrant to serve as permanent dean of the Humphrey School. She reflects on the journey that brought her from her childhood in Jamaica to this new leadership role.
Three Faculty Find Leadership Opportunities
The mission of the Humphrey School is to inspire, educate, and support innovative leaders to advance the common good in a diverse world. It's a goal that applies to all members of our School community. We’re proud to note that three of the School's faculty members moved on to lead other public policy schools in recent years.