The St. Olaf Board of Regents is the strategic governing body of the college, responsible for the college’s mission, goals and priorities, academic quality, fiscal integrity, and legal affairs. The Board also appoints and regularly assesses the performance of the college president. The Board does not handle the day-to-day management of the College, but instead focuses on long term planning and the “big picture” of the college’s overall well-being. The Board’s purpose is to advance the mission of St. Olaf while ensuring its lasting viability.
The Regents are highly successful professionals from various fields, many of whom are St. Olaf alumni. They are volunteers who contribute significant time, expertise, and financial resources to the College. Much of their work is accomplished through multiple standing committees, as well as special-purpose task forces that the Board Chair appoints from time to time to address particularly pressing issues as they arise. The composition of the Board is becoming increasingly diverse as it evolves to reflect the St. Olaf community. The selection process is rigorous, including nomination from current Regents, interviews, and a vote by the Board as a whole. Each new Regent is assigned to a current Regent mentor as part of their orientation to the Board. Regents are deeply invested in the success of St. Olaf. The construction of Regents Hall, the renovation of Holland Hall, and the establishment of the Taylor Center, the Lutheran Center, and the Piper Center were all made possible through Regent study, decision making and financial support.
To learn more about the people who are serving St. Olaf as Regents, the Board of Regents Student Committee is conducting interviews with current Board members. On December 14th, Edwin Le ’21 and Bergen Senf ’24 met with Jay Lund ’81, the Chair of the Board of Regents. A transfer student from the University of Wyoming, Regent Lund found a home on the Hill instantly and remembers choosing St. Olaf because of the beautiful campus, stimulating student body, and academic rigor. As a student at St. Olaf, he forged strong friendships and “learned how to learn, and then how to apply that learning.” Regent Lund recalls great memories traveling with his Alpine teammates, studying on the second floor of the library, and avoiding lutefisk when it was served during Christmas Fest. During an Alpine competition, he also met his future wife, a skier from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Currently, Regent Lund is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Andersen Corporation, a position he has held for many years. Three of his five children are also St. Olaf alumni.
Mr. Lund was elected to the Board in 2012, while two of his sons were attending St. Olaf. He enjoyed spending time with them on campus and learning more about how best to serve the College. After finding his footing, he was invited to participate in two Board initiatives: serving on the search committee for the college’s first full-time Athletic Director, which resulted in the hiring of Ryan Bowles, and serving as a member of a Board task force to review the college’s marketing efforts, which resulted in the hiring of Katie Warren to direct an expanded Marketing and Communications office. Both of these initiatives were a great fit with Regent Lund’s experiences. Since he had been a student-athlete himself and had children on Olaf athletic teams, Regent Lund felt informed and connected to this part of the College. And because St. Olaf had been such a transformative experience for him, he wanted to find a way to communicate the story of St. Olaf as powerfully as possible.
Regent Lund joined the board to make a difference in the St. Olaf community. He noted several focus areas for his three-year term as Chair. First, he spoke about the Board’s ongoing efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion, which were underway well before the events of this past summer. Since then, the Board has elevated this work and expanded it to embrace a commitment to anti-racism. Second, he discussed the residential living construction project on Ole Avenue that has been in the works for a number of years, to modernize and expand campus housing to better accommodate our student population. After the Ole Avenue project is completed, the Board plans to continue its work by renovating older facilities. A third focus of Regent Lund’s tenure is long term succession planning in anticipation of President Anderson’s retirement. Determining what the college is going to need in the next president, and overseeing the presidential search and selection process, is one of the Board’s most important roles. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing St. Olaf to reimagine life and learning on the Hill, added a fourth area of focus for the Board. Regent Lund and the other members of the Board have remained dedicated to achieving these ambitious goals for the College despite the challenges of leading St. Olaf through unprecedented times. The Board is working to ensure that St. Olaf not only survives, but thrives, even in the pandemic.
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