University of Minnesota Alumni Association


From the President

A Tip of the Hat

Joan T.A. Gabel

One of the great thrills of my job is hearing stories of how our graduates have taken their experiences at the University of Minnesota to create worlds (and sometimes careers) unforeseen.

Trailblazers like Shannon Gregory (M.B.A. ’18), who oversees flight operations at NASA Kennedy Center; Crystal Osman, who works with the University of Minnesota Foundation and also founded the gluten-free pie company Better Berry Pie Company during the pandemic, or Lee Wallace (M.P.P. ’05), the owner and CEO of Peace Coffee. All have found opportunities when addressing challenges before them, and ways to serve others while they lead. 

Their leadership inspires me and makes me proud of the community and individuals this University has helped build. I know there are countless others like them across our alumni family, examples of excellence and impact, widening our circle of opportunity and strengthening our bonds around the world. It’s exciting to read about so many of these bellwethers doing meaningful work throughout this edition.

I also want to take this opportunity to recognize Lisa Lewis, who recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary as the Alumni Association president and CEO. She has been a great partner to the University over the past decade, as well as to me. A grateful University stands in appreciation for her service and contributions. In this spirit, I want to also acknowledge the hard work of the UMAA team Lisa leads, the commitment of the UMAA board of directors, and the incredible engagement of all of our alumni volunteers.

These shared efforts give the University of Minnesota one of the most innovative and creative alumni organizations in the country, serving not just the few, but all alumni around the world.

We look forward to future decades of success at the UMAA and I look forward to walking with all of you in this journey.

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