About Tom Swain

Tom Swain is a longtime government, business, community, and University of Minnesota leader who held a variety of influential positions during his distinguished career. 

Portrait of Tom Swain


  • Chief of staff and economic development commissioner under Governor Elmer Anderson
  • Led health policy reform efforts under Governors Arne Carlson and Tim Pawlenty
  • Executive director of the Minnesota Statehood Centennial Commission
  • Mayor of Lilydale

In the business community:

  • Longtime executive vice president at the St. Paul Companies

At the University:

  • Began his U career as ticket manager for the Gophers in the 1940s
  • Came out of retirement twice to serve as acting vice president of Institutional Relations

At the Humphrey School:

  • Advisory Council member for nearly 20 years
  • Established the Thomas H. Swain Fellowship in Public Leadership to support mid-career master’s degree students. Some 60 students have benefitted to date.  
  • Trusted counsel to several deans
  • Recipient of the 2017 Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award

As a member of the Humphrey School Dean’s Advisory Council since 2003, Swain believes the School’s mission to “inspire, educate and support leadership for the common good” makes it ideally suited for this work.

The Humphrey School is working collaboratively across the University to maximize the impact of the Swain Climate Policy Series. A key partner is the University’s Institute on the Environment.