Former Star Tribune Publisher Roger Parkinson on Wednes­day re­ceived one of the University of Minnesota's high­est honors, the Award of Dis­tinc­tion.

University Pres­i­dent Eric Kaler said Parkinson "has been an extra­ordi­nary cit­i­zen and a role mod­el of civ­ic en­gage­ment."

Parkinson, 73, has served 15 years on the Humphrey School Dean's Ad­vi­so­ry Council. The Humphrey School of Public Affairs pre­pares stu­dents for ca­reers in public serv­ice.

In ac­cept­ing the a­ward Wednes­day, Parkinson, known for his fire­brand work eth­ic, said he hoped to see the day when the Humphrey School is con­sid­ered a­mong the best in the coun­try. It is cur­rent­ly rank­ed third by US News and World Report's sur­vey of nonprofit man­age­ment programs.

Parkinson has lived in To­ron­to for the past 20 years. Dur­ing his years in Minnesota, he or­gan­ized Mikhail Gorbachev's vis­it in 1990, chaired the 1990 Olym­pic Festival and helped cre­ate the Ho­mer Hanky used in the 1987 and 1991 World Series.

His ca­reer in jour­nal­ism be­gan in 1969 at News­week; he also worked at the Washington Post. He was pub­lish­er of the Star Tribune from 1983 to 1992 and the To­ron­to Globe and Mail from 1994 to 1999.

He earned a Bronze Star for serv­ice in the Green Berets, re­ceived an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in phi­los­o­phy from Dart­mouth, an MBA from Har­vard Business School and, in re­tire­ment, a mas­ters of arts in in­ter­na­tion­al re­la­tions from the University of To­ron­to.

Parkinson said re­ceiv­ing the a­ward was a spe­cial honor. "When you've lived oth­er places, you tru­ly re­al­ize what a spe­cial place Minnesota is."