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Phil Esten, Kinesiology grad, named new CEO for the U of M Alumni Association

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association announced today that Phil Esten, Ph.D., has been named Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Esten, who currently serves as Associate Athletics Director at the University, succeeds Margaret Sughrue Carlson, who announced plans to retire from the Alumni Association last May after 25 years of service.

Dr. Esten, who has a doctoral degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management (advised by Mary Jo Kane, Director of the School) and teaches graduate level courses as an adjunct professor of the University's School of Kinesiology, was chosen through a national search process that began last August. "Our 60,000 members will benefit from Phil's extensive knowledge of the University, his proven ability to turn alumni into ambassadors for important University causes, and his passion for the role that school spirit plays in connecting today's and tomorrow's graduates to their alma mater," said Bruce Mooty, immediate past president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and co-chair of the search committee.

As an Associate AD, Dr. Esten manages the overall strategic plan for intercollegiate athletics, which includes 25 sports and 225 employees. He was the department's point person for the TCF Bank Stadium, serving as the intercollegiate athletics liaison for all design, construction, operations and management of the $288.5 million project. Dr. Esten also was instrumental in stadium fundraising, an effort that included more than $45 million in funds for academic programming for the University.

"Now more than ever, major universities around the country are realizing the immense importance of building strong relationships with their alumni," said U of M President Bob Bruininks. "Phil is a proven leader who brings out the best in people in pursuit of a common goal. I'm looking forward to working with him in support of this great institution."

Dr. Esten will be the seventh CEO in the Alumni Association's 106-year history. His first official day with the organization is March 15.

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