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Former University of Minnesota president receives Distinguished Alumnus Award

Posted by on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 in Around the Mall, Fall 2013, Fall 2013, Issue.

Bruininks at Vanderbilt's Commencement in May 2013. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

Peabody College bestowed its 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award on educational psychologist Robert H. Bruininks during Commencement on May 10. Bruininks earned his master’s degree in 1965 and a doctorate in 1968 in educational psychology from the George Peabody College for Teachers. He had previously graduated with honors from Western Michigan University.

After completing his doctorate, Bruininks became a professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota. He went on to become dean of the College of Education and Human Development and then the university’s executive vice president and provost. He was president of the University of Minnesota system and the Twin Cities campus from 2002 to 2011.

During his tenure as president, Bruininks elevated the university’s academic profile and expanded its research and knowledge transfer activities, even as state funding was reduced. Under his leadership, enrollment grew, graduation rates increased and research expanded from $520 million annually to more than $800 million. Bruininks also led an effort to maintain the university’s accessibility through a $340 million scholarship campaign and expansion of need-based financial aid.

He is now president emeritus and holds the Elmer L. Andersen President Emeritus Chair in educational and civic leadership at the university’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He has earned many honors and awards for his exemplary service to the field of education. Bruininks is married to Susan A. Hagstrum, and they reside in Minneapolis. They have three children and four grandchildren.

The Peabody Distinguished Alumnus/a Award is presented during Commencement activities each May. Listen to Bruininks’ speech at the May 2013 ceremony.

Nominations may be submitted online.

—Jane Sevier


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