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Ann Cieslak, University of Minnesota Board of Regents Executive Director, to retire

Served seven Board of Regents chairs, three U of M presidents; staffed two presidential searches

June 5, 2012

University of Minnesota Board of Regents Executive Director and Corporate Secretary Ann Cieslak will retire June 17 due to medical reasons.

“As someone who has served on numerous boards in my lifetime and who has been privileged to be a University of Minnesota Regent for the past five years, I can say with the utmost certainty and sincerity that I have never encountered a more diligent, committed, intelligent and warm staff colleague than Ann Cieslak,” said Board Chair Linda Cohen, who announced Cieslak’s decision today to University leadership. “She will be deeply missed, but I am thankful that she will remain a good friend to me and many other current and former Regents.”

Cieslak held the position for nearly 13 years, serving with seven Board of Regents chairs and three University presidents (Mark Yudof, Robert Bruininks and Eric Kaler). In addition, she oriented new Regents to the University’s governance function and staffed two presidential searches, including the one that resulted in bringing current President Kaler to the University.

“Ann’s wisdom, professionalism, commitment to this University and dedication to the Board was evident at every step of the search process,” said Kaler. “I cannot thank her enough for her counsel, advice and guidance to ensure my transition to president was smooth.”

During her tenure, Cieslak helped the Board and administration navigate immense change at the state’s only public land grant research university. “I have been honored to be a part of strengthening this great university, facilitating governance whether by advancing major capital projects, such as the new stadium or completing Folwell Hall renovations, or strategically managing deep state budget reductions to protect academic quality,” Cieslak said.

Cieslak describes the Board of Regents as the most distinguished public board in the state of Minnesota. “Being a Regent is the ultimate volunteer appointment and the opportunity to serve as Board Secretary is a distinct honor,” she said.

In addition to her leadership role at the University of Minnesota, Cieslak served on the Board Professional Leadership Group (BPLG) of the Association of Governing Boards, a national organization that represents university regents and trustees.  She chaired BPLG in 2009-2010. She also frequently presented at the association’s national workshops and co-authored The Role of the Board Professional, which has become the standard text and guide for those who work for higher education boards.

Cieslak will be recognized at the September Board of Regents meeting. A Board announcement outlining plans to fill the Executive Director and Corporate Secretary position will be forthcoming.

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