4 new members elected to U of M Board of Regents

May 09, 2019 06:17 PM

Four members were elected to the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents Thursday.

They were Janie Mayeron, who represents the 5th Congressional District, Mike Kenyanya, who was elected to the Student At-Large seat, and Kao Ly Ilene Her and Mary Davenport, who were elected to Statewide At-Large Seats.


The new regents will get down to business right away, attending a meeting Friday. There will now be at least three people of color on the board.

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A release from the office of Rep. Connie Bernardy, DFL-New Brighton and Chair of the House's Higher Education Finance and Policy Division, said a total of 41 applications were received for the two Statewide At-Large Seats, 14 applications were received for the Student At-Large Seat and 10 applications were received for the 5th Congressional District Seat.

Compared with other Big Ten schools, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents isn't the most diverse. But it's not the least diverse either.

The release notes that 75 percent of the applicants were women or people of color.

Bernardy stated in the release that it was important that the selections reflect "the gender and ethnic diversity of the whole state, including the necessary skills and strengths to lead a complex university system."

"I'm pleased we were able to come together on a bipartisan, bicameral level to approve these regent seats that are best representative of our state," Bernardy said in a statement.

Kenyanya, 22, becomes one of four total at-large members. He has served as president of student government at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

 "And I see this as an extension of that," he said. "It's certainly very different, but it's kind of fueled by the same passion."

State Sen. Paul Anderson said Ilene Her brings valuable experience to her new task.

"She was for the former executive director of the council of Asian Pacific Americas, and she is now the CEO of a healthcare company," he said. "She is going to bring a wealth of experience as well to the board of regents."

Anderson also had words of praise for Davenport and Mayeron.

"Mary is a former president of a college, so she brings that higher education experience," he said.

"(Mayeron) is a former 14-year federal judge magistrate. She brings a wealth of experience on looking at information and then making decisions."

Anderson said the new regents will be helping guide incoming President Joan Gabel as she puts strategic plans in place.

Board members hold six-year terms. New members apply. The Regent Candidate Advisory Board reviews the applications and conducts interviews. 

It then submits the finalists to the Joint Higher Education Committee.

The State House and Senate voted Thursday.

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