Carl N. Platou, M.H.A., special adviser to Medical School Dean Deborah Powell, M.D., has a unique association with the Minnesota Medical Foundation (MMF). One could almost say MMF is in Platou’s genes, because it was his uncle and mentor, Erling Platou, M.D., who in 1939 started the foundation, together with a small but illustrious group of other Medical School alumni. Carl lived with his uncle at the time, having moved to Minneapolis from Brooklyn, New York, to finish high school after his mother died.
Now 85, Carl Platou has been at the forefront of Minnesota’s health-care industry for more than half a century and understands MMF’s importance to the Medical School. He still goes to work every day, to an office at MMF where a picture of Erling Platou hangs on his wall.
A tireless and eloquent advocate of the Medical School, Carl Platou fervently believes that MMF’s work to raise financial support for medical education and research is more important than ever to the health and economic well-being of both the University and the state. “The medical industry is the strongest industry we have,” he says, “and it comes about from the research that emanates from the Medical School and spawns new industry.”
In his advisory roles today, Platou is a key player in the effort to raise the private money that will be needed to breathe life into the University’s new biomedical research park. The state in 2008 authorized $292 million in bonding to build the facilities, but it will be largely up to MMF to raise the additional funding needed to equip and populate the four new buildings with scientists and support staff.
What might MMF founder Erling Platou think if he were here today? “He would be enthralled,” his nephew declares. “He would say, ‘How in the world did we ever get this far? It’s thrilling!’”