A Mayo Clinic doctor, a professional engineer, a lawyer and an incumbent are among eight finalists for four open seats on the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents.
At a joint meeting Tuesday, the Minnesota House and Senate higher education committees picked two finalists for each of the four seats on the university's governing board, teeing up a final vote by the full Legislature.
The U's 12 regents are elected to staggered six-year terms and are tasked with approving major policies such as tuition increases and an annual budget of about $4 billion. The unpaid board is made up of one member from each of the state's eight congressional districts and four selected at-large.
The joint committee named Val Aarsvold and Dr. Ruth Johnson finalists for the First Congressional District seat. Aarsvold, of Altura, is executive director of the Minnesota FFA Foundation. Johnson, of Rochester, is a doctor at the Mayo Clinic who served on Augsburg University's board of trustees for 17 years.
Brandon Alkire and Karen Schanfield, both of St. Paul, were recommended for the Fourth District seat. If elected, Alkire, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, would be the U's first Native American regent. Schanfield is a lawyer who co-led an investigation of sexual harassment and the U's Athletics Department in 2015 following the resignation of athletic director Norwood Teague.
Kodi Verhalen, an attorney and engineer from Elk River, and incumbent Regent Michael Hsu were recommended for the Sixth District seat. Verhalen was president of the National Society of Professional Engineers in 2016-2017, the youngest person in the organization's history to hold the position. Hsu is the board's most outspoken critic of tuition increases and administrator pay.
Doug Huebsch, of Perham, and Michael Yost, of Murdock, were named finalists for the Seventh District seat. Huebsch is a fourth-generation family farmer who served on the University of Minnesota Alumni Association's board of directors from 2014 to 2020. Yost is a family farmer who once led the Foreign Agricultural Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Candidates James Farnsworth, Dave Hoang and Lucas Sjostrom were not recommended by the joint committee.
Ryan Faircloth • 612-673-4234