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Phil Esten Named New Alumni CEO

Feb.8, 2010 - The University of Minnesota Alumni Association announced Saturday that Phil Esten, has been named chief executive officer. Esten, who is an associate athletics director at the University, succeeds Margaret Sughrue Carlson, who will retire after 25 years of service.

Esten, who has a Ph. D. in kinesiology from the University (2003) and has taught graduate level courses as an adjunct professor of the University’s Kinesiology department, was chosen through a national search process that began last August.
As an associate athletics director, Esten manages the overall strategic plan for intercollegiate athletics, which includes 25 sports and 225 employees. He was the department’s point person for the University’s new on-campus football stadium, TCF Bank Stadium, serving as the intercollegiate athletics liaison for all design, construction, operations and management of the $288.5 million project. Esten also was instrumental in stadium fundraising, an effort that included more than $45 million in funds for academic programming for the University.

“Now more than ever, major universities around the country are realizing the immense importance of building strong relationships with their alumni,” said Bob Bruininks, University of Minnesota president. “Phil is a proven leader who brings out the best in people in pursuit of a common goal. I’m looking forward to working with him in support of this great institution.”

Esten will be the seventh CEO in the Alumni Association’s 106-year history. His first official day with the organization is March 15.  “Margaret Carlson set a high bar for Big Ten alumni association leadership, and Phil is uniquely qualified to carry that leadership forward,” said Bruce Mooty, immediate past president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and co-chair of the search committee with former Board of Regents Chair Maureen Reed. “Our 60,000 members will benefit from Phil’s extensive knowledge of the University, his proven ability to turn alumni into ambassadors for important University causes, and his passion for the role that school spirit plays in connecting today’s and tomorrow’s graduates to their alma mater.”

Retiring CEO Margaret Sughrue Carlson expressed her enthusiastic support of Esten’s appointment. “I’m delighted to pass the maroon and gold baton to Phil, who has been a superb ally of the Alumni Association for years. I’ll be cheering for him, as will 400,000 alumni around the country who cheered me along for the past 25 years.” Carlson will be embarking on a part-time consulting career, providing guidance to higher-education institutions and non-profit organizations throughout the country.

About the University of Minnesota Alumni Association
The University of Minnesota Alumni Association is a 60,000-member organization whose members are ambassadors for the outstanding teaching and discovery that happens at the University every day.


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