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Elaine Hansen Receives President’s Award for Outstanding Service

May 5, 2016

Elaine Hansen receives the 2016 U of M President’s Award for Outstanding Service.

Elaine Hansen Profile

News Release — For info contact Lori Melton,, 218-726-8830.

Elaine Hansen, director of the Center for Economic Development at UMD, is a recipient of the 2016 U of M President’s Award for Outstanding Service.

This system wide award, bestowed by U of M President Eric Kaler, recognizes exceptional service to the University of Minnesota. Individuals who receive this award have gone far beyond their regular duties and have demonstrated tremendous commitment to the university community.

In his nomination letter, Rolf T. Weberg, director of the Natural Resource Research Institute, said, “Elaine is an inspiration and role model for many who aspire to be leaders and serve the public. She offers her insight constructively and effectively, and with her experience and knowledge, Elaine is somebody who can walk into any situation and immediately make a positive impact. She personally mentors several women on an ongoing basis in addition to being a strong, inspirational leader people strive to imitate. Elaine takes the time to visit high school classrooms to teach financial literacy, facilitates RYLA [Rotary Youth Leadership Award] programs, she has taught classes on political advocacy, ethics in economic development, business finance, and other topics to educate others.”

Amy Hietapelto, dean of UMD’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics, in her letter of support, stated, “Simply put Elaine has worn many hats and has no difficulties in striving for excellence in her performance at the University and in the business community. I laud Elaine for her strong personal service focus; she exemplifies true servant leadership in her beliefs and actions. Elaine cares passionately about UMD.”  

Letters of support were also provided by Nancy J. Libersky, district director of the Minnesota District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration, and Sandi Larson, business development professional at the Center for Economic Development, who was a recipient of the President's Award for Outstanding Service in 2013. In her letter, Larson said, “Elaine is not only my supervisor but also my mentor. Her attitude of servant leadership, empowering and encouraging others to take on challenges, is truly inspirational. She has set a wonderful example encouraging me to take on challenges, push myself, and strive for excellence.”

Two events honoring recipients of the Outstanding Service award will be held in Minneapolis. The first is at a University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting on Friday, May 13, 2016 and the second is a reception on June 16, 2016.

About Elaine Hansen
Elaine began her employment at UMD as a development officer for the Labovitz School of Business and Economics in 1999. She took over as director of the Center for Economic Development (CED) in 2003. As director of the CED, she has successfully elevated it to be the premier regional Small Business Development Center in Minnesota. In 2014, the CED received the U.S. Small Business Administration Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award. 

In addition to her duties at the CED, Elaine took on the role of acting interim vice chancellor of Finance and Operations and interim director of Finance at UMD from February 2015–October 2015. Her leadership during this time of transition on campus allowed UMD to make progress on budget and human resource issues and allowed UMD to transition smoothly to a new vice chancellor for Finance and Operations and Director of Human Resources.

Elaine is active in the local community and in the region. She has been or is currently involved in a variety of organizations including: Great Lakes Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Rotary Club 25, Rotary Youth Leadership Award, Duluth Professional Women’s Network (which she co-founded), Voyageurs Area Council Boy Scouts of America, WDSE, Spirit Mountain Board, Historic Union Depot Board, YWCA, and Great Lakes Aquarium.

She is a certified public accountant, licensed in the State of Minnesota. She has a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth, is an Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council, a Certified Global Business Professional, and a Certified Global Management Accountant. 


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