2021, Alumni: Joan Gabel has had a lot to navigate amid Covid-19 and the disruption to normal class schedules. She’s decisive and not afraid to make unpopular calls, such as severing ties with the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of the George Floyd killing.
2020, Emerging: Inaugurated the 17th president of the University of Minnesota on July 1, Joan Gabel faces high expectations from constituencies that may have conflicting goals. Students and the Minnesota Legislature want Gabel to constrain tuition increases, while faculty members want financial resources to maintain and build nationally prominent rankings for their professional schools. Gabel is a lawyer with experience as a business dean and provost. The U of M’s 27,000 faculty and staff and 67,000 students will be watching how she interacts with constituencies and handles budgets. She’s spoken about emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and inclusiveness, and people will soon see how she translates those values into reality.