Hamline News

Meet the Board


Hard at Work

In general, boards of trustees can seem mysterious, bringing to mind solemn people wearing dark suits and deliberating in stark conference rooms. As with all things Hamline, we do it a bit differently. Our Board of Trustees is down-to-earth, engaging, and friendly. “I’ve been impressed with how everyone has made me feel really welcome,” says Tony Heredia, newly elected to the board in 2010.

There are 33 elected board members, two ex-officio members (President Hanson and Methodist bishop Sally Dyck), and 11 life trustees. Together, they ensure that Hamline realizes its mission as a diverse, learning-centered university and that it remains financially viable. “The board wants Hamline to be the best it can be and have strong financial footing,” says board member Mary Schrock. “We’re all involved in fundraising at some level, and we constantly look to the future to see trends and make sure Hamline responds to changes in the outside world—the needs of employers and students.”

The board meets four times a year, including a February retreat, with nine individual committees (investment, trusteeship, facilities, etc.) meeting more regularly. Board Chair Kita McVay attends the majority of committee meetings throughout the year. “I need to be familiar with the issues and discussion from each committee when we head into quarterly board meetings,” she says. “It’s important for the board to have full information before making decisions and to air any questions and concerns. I make sure that all voices are heard.”

For Al DeBoer ’64, past chair, this dedication to Hamline is a no-brainer. “As an alumnus, I have a deep affection for Hamline,” he says. “I just love the place. Some board members have no prior connection to Hamline, yet they’ve given their time, talent, and treasure to support the university. We have a common passion for Hamline and a commitment to making the world a better place through higher education.”

Besides a love for Hamline, what else do board members have in common? Take a look at some of their similarities.

Hamline Sports Stars:

John Banovetz ’89 was a four-time letter winner on Hamline’s men’s basketball team. (He also has smarts—he was a Hamline Presidential Scholar, a Rhodes Scholar regional finalist, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.)

Al DeBoer ’64, an admitted sports fanatic, is a member of Hamline’s Athletic Hall of Fame. While a student at Hamline, DeBoer played football, basketball, and baseball. 

Winston Folkers ’57 was an all-conference forward on Hamline’s 1957 MIAC championship basketball team and was named honorable mention all-American.

Hamline Heritage:  

Brenda Edmondson Heim ’77 is an alumna, married to alumnus David Heim ’77. They are parents to Carrie Heim ’04 who is married to Jason Ross ’03. Heim’s mother-in-law, Joyce Heim earned Hamline’s MALS degree in 1985.

The Klas family, including life trustees Bob Klas ’52 LHD (hon.) ’08 and Sandy Klas LHD (hon.) ’08 and their son, Robert Klas Jr. ’75, who also serves on the board, have a long Hamline tradition. Bob Klas Sr.’s siblings, Mary Klas Peterson ’50, Daniel Klas ’50, and William Klas ’55 all attended Hamline, as did his children Elizabeth Klas ’78 and Thomas Klas MBA ’08. His niece, Laura Krupke ’10 also is an alumna.

High Flyers: 

Julie Showers recently retired as senior vice president of in-flight services for Northwest Airlines where she directed the operation of 10 domestic and 11 international flight bases.

Jeff Hamiel DPA ’07, a former Air Force pilot is now executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. He is the first alumnus from Hamline’s doctor of public administration program to serve on the board. 

Ken Woodrow, a life trustee who served as vice president for Target Corporation until his retirement in 2000, is now a director for Delta Airlines.

Business Minded: 

Jeanne Forneris, a lawyer by training, has provided wise general counsel to the medical and construction industries. She chairs the board’s facilities committee and earned kudos for guiding development of the University Center design.

Kent Larson, an executive with Xcel Energy, provides expertise on making Hamline’s campus more energy-efficient. Xcel donated solar panels to the University Center to aid in energy savings.

Richard Mack JD ’93, an expert in mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, serves as general counsel for The Mosaic Company, one of the world’s largest crop nutrition corporations. 

Dave Petrocchi JD ’94, a Rhode Island native, is a certified public accountant and partner at Ernst and Young. 

Ken Paulus, president and chief executive officer of Allina Health System, oversees 11 hospitals and more than 25,000 employees. 

John Turner, a life trustee who serves on the Allina board of trustees, recruited Paulus to Hamline’s board. Turner, a former Hamline board chair, is chairman of Hillcrest Capital Partners, an investment firm he runs with his son, Jeff.

World Travelers: 

Life trustee Rozanne Ridgway ’57 LLD (hon.) ’78 served 32 years as a career foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, has lived throughout the world, has received nine honorary degrees (including a doctor of law degree from Hamline), and has been decorated by the governments of Finland and Germany.

Ricardo (Rico) Paul Vallejos, native of Argentina, studied computer science in Buenos Aires, cultural anthropology in Europe, and marketing in the United States.

Top Educators:

Mary Murry Boyd, a retired area superintendent for Saint Paul Public Schools, received the Saint Paul Rotary “Educator of the Year” award in 2000 and served as interim dean of the Hamline School of Education in 2006.

Kay Fredericks built on her experience as an elementary school teacher in the White Bear Lake School District to found TREND enterprises, teacher-created learning products for grades kindergarten through nine. She is the same Kay Fredericks for whom the third floor of Klas Center is named.

Kita McVay, board chair, served as interim president of United Theological Seminary for several years. With her family, she established Hamline’s McVay Youth Partnership and Fellows program, through which Pipers volunteer with middle school children, helping them with schoolwork, playing games, and offering support.

Religious Calling:

Kathi Austin Mahle, now in her fifth, four-year term as a trustee, has served in several key positions as a United Methodist pastor and administrator. With her husband, Steve Mahle, she established Hamline’s Mahle Endowed Fund for Progressive Christian Thought and the Mahle Scholars Program. 

Charles Purdham ’48, a Hamline life trustee, pastor, and former director of the Minnesota Annual Conference (the state organization for United Methodist churches), has also assisted the Golden Valley Police Relations Committee and is a past director and trustee of Ministers Life insurance company. 

Sally Dyck, Methodist bishop, works toward eradicating malaria throughout the world and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. Her vocation is a family affair—her husband, Kenneth Ehrman, is a minister and United Methodist elder. 

Cindy Gregorson ’81 has led more than 59 Methodist congregations in visioning, strategic planning, and resource management. Her experience perfectly aligns with her duties as a Hamline trustee, and as an alumna, she is well prepared to lead in a diverse world. 

Bruce Robbins serves as senior pastor of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church and in multiple Methodist-related roles, yet he is active in interreligious and ecumenical work, including serving on the World Council of Churches.

Helping Hands:

William (Bill) Manning JD ’78, created an endowed scholarship at Hamline in Nelson Mandela’s name. A certified civil trial specialist and partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ceresi, Manning also is a recipient of the School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award.

Ronald Mitsch ’56 and his wife, Marilyn, fund a program to benefit Native American students at the School of Law. Mitsch, a life trustee, is a former Hamline board chair and also served as vice chairman of the board at 3M where he began his career in chemistry in 1960. 

Wendy Bakken Watson JD ’97 funds a full scholarship to help a nontraditional aged student get through the first year of law school, just as she attended HUSL.

First Up:

Charles Johnson JD ’75 was a member of the first graduating class of Hamline School of Law. 

Joe Graba, a highly regarded K–12 policy and practice specialist, was the first dean of the School of Education and served in that position from 1997 to 2000. Gloria Kauls MALS ’92 was the first Hamline graduate school alumna to be elected to the board.

Gwen Lerner JD ’78 served as editor of the inaugural issue of the Hamline Law Review and was a member of the moot court team with William (Bill) Manning JD ’78. An expert in general council practice, she also is active in children’s law and has represented foster children pro bono for many years.

Cause Committed:

Mary Schrock has devoted her professional life to children with special needs as chief operating and development officer for PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights) Center. 

Life trustee Sandy Klas LHD (hon.) ’08 is an artist, philanthropist, and long-time advocate for persons with special developmental needs. 

Michael LaFontaine JD ’03, senior vice president and chief compliance officer for US Bancorp, serves on the board of Ethics and Partnership Resources, a Minnesota nonprofit that supports persons with disabilities.

Innovative Entrepreneurs:

Robert Klas Jr. ’75, is CEO of Tapemark Company, which develops adhesives for medical procedures. He also heads up the annual Tapemark Charity Pro-Am national golf tournament, founded by his father, which benefits children with disabilities. 

Dick Hoel ’69 graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Law School and is the founding shareholder of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. An expert in investing and entrepreneurial companies (he chairs the campaign for the new University Center), Hoel also is a skilled tennis player and competes in national tournaments.

Joel Portice MAPA ’93, is president and CEO of Intelimedix, a data warehousing system that will help digitalize medical records.

Did You Know?

Born in 1915, Orem Robbins, the founder of Security American Financial Enterprises, is the oldest life trustee on the board, followed by Gerald Needham, former assistant dean of the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, who was born in 1917.

Ellis Bullock spent 16 years with Jostens Company before becoming executive director of the Grotto Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the educational, physical, social, and economic well-being of citizens, primarily those from culturally diverse groups.

Tom McGough Sr. is a life trustee and chairman of the family-owned McGough Companies in Saint Paul—the construction firm for the new University Center. A lover of life, McGough drives a Maserati and enjoys Italian food and red wine.

Steven Olson ’62, who holds a JD from Harvard University, is best friends with fellow Hamline alumnus Al DeBoer ’64. They frequently bet small wagers on the golf course with the winnings going to Hamline. Olson and his brother, Newman Olson ’59, fund a scholarship in memory of their aunt Claribelle Olson, a long-serving Hamline registrar.

Prior to becoming vice president of corporate risk and responsibility for Target Corporation, Tony Heredia spent 13 years working in California law enforcement.

Ann Bentdahl, a former banker, now dedicates her time to her two daughters and volunteering, and she is a skilled polo player.

Laura Chin is the former executive vice president of Leann Chin, Inc., her family’s popular Midwest restaurant chain.