Posted: June 30, 2004

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Originally released by the Office of Governor Tim Pawlenty

Saint Paul - Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the appointment of Duane Benson, David Olson, Thomas Renier, and Christopher Schultz to the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State College and University System.

"Each of these individuals proven records as change agents and the Minnesota State College and University System will benefit from their leadership," said Governor Pawlenty. "An effective Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System is a key to Minnesota's continued success and economic growth. These appointees understand the benefits of a strong partnership between higher education and the private sector."

Duane Benson, of Lanesboro, was Executive Director of the Minnesota Business Partnership from 1994 to 2003. He served in the Minnesota Senate from 1980 to 1994, including serving as Senate Minority Leader. Benson graduated with honors from Hamline University. He was drafted into the NFL and played eleven seasons as a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, and Houston Oilers. He continues to own and operate a cattle farm outside of Lanesboro and is active in numerous civic and charitable organizations. A resident of the first Congressional District, Benson is appointed to an at-large seat on the Board. He will serve a six-year term which ends June 30, 2010. Benson replaces Daniel Coborn on the Board.

David Olson, of Minnetonka, is President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. He serves as Chair of the Board of Regents of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management. Olson previously served as Chair of the Governor's Workforce Development Council. Olson received a B.A. in Political Science and Urban Studies from St. Olaf College in Northfield. He received a M.S. in Urban and Regional Affairs from Minnesota State University-Mankato. A resident of the third Congressional District, Olson is appointed to an at-large seat on the Board. He will serve a six-year term which ends June 30, 2010. Olson replaces Andrew Boss on the Board.

Thomas Renier, of Duluth, is President of the Northland Foundation. He serves on numerous boards of directors, including on the Center for Rural Policy and Development, the National Community Capital Association, and the Minnesota Humanities Commission. Renier also serves on the Board of Advisors of the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) School of Business and Economics. He received a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Political Science from UMD. Renier is appointed to the Board seat for a resident of the eighth Congressional District. He will serve a six-year term which ends June 30, 2010. Renier replaces Jim Luoma on the Board.

Christopher Schultz, of Plymouth, received an A.A. degree with high honors from Normandale Community College in May 2004. This fall he will be continuing his studies at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. While at Normandale, Schultz served as Treasurer of the Student Senate. He is appointed to the Board seat for a Community College Student. Schultz will serve a two-year term which ends June 30, 2006. He replaces Shaun Williams on the Board.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System comprises 5 community colleges, 8 technical colleges, 12 combined community and technical colleges and 7 state universities. The system is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor. The Board has broad policy responsibility for system planning, academic programs, fiscal management, personnel, admissions requirements, tuition and fees, and policies and procedures.