Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Steven Rosenstone announced today that he will retire upon completion of his current contract in July 2017. Dr. Rosenstone, who will be nearly 66 years old when he completes his current contract, has led the system of seven state universities and 30 community and technical colleges since 2011.
During his tenure, Rosenstone has been and continues to be an unwavering advocate for the power of education to create transformational opportunity for students and to reduce racial and economic disparities across the state.
“Chancellor Rosenstone is a visionary leader who understands the staggering complexity and the thousands of moving parts in a large system of higher education like ours,” said current Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Chair Michael Vekich. “He has led us through the setting of a new strategic direction that has inspired people on every campus to become collaborative leaders. Through it all, he has kept his focus – and the focus of our colleges and universities – on one goal: ensuring access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans.”
While turning his attention to the complex structural changes in a sprawling system of 37 colleges and universities, Rosenstone continues to keep students front-and-center of the innovations he has advanced.
Recognizing the sense of urgency at a time when higher education is facing dynamic and unrelenting change, Rosenstone has been unapologetically aggressive in facing realities head-on. According to Scott Thiss, former chair of the Board of Trustees, “Back in 2011 when we were searching for the next chancellor, we wanted someone who would be a courageous, transformational leader. We got one in Steven and we told him to put his foot on the gas and to keep it there.”
Alex Cirillo, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities trustee and chair of the board’s Academic and Student Affairs committee, acknowledges both the scope and success of Rosenstone’s efforts, and added, “Steven Rosenstone, with his unique set of skills, has moved MnSCU further than I ever thought possible; perhaps further than anyone else could have. He has brought real focus on our need for financial stability, on our need for collaboration among campuses, and on our need to make student success our guiding principle. He has been an indefatigable teller of the MnSCU story, highlighting how our faculty and staff change lives. His vision for our future should remain in our sights as we go forward.”
The MnSCU system dates back to 1991, when the Minnesota Legislature passed a law mandating the merger of the community colleges, technical colleges, and state universities. The merger took effect on July 1, 1995. Merging three different systems into one, along with their unique cultures, did not come without its challenges.
Rosenstone has presided over a period of important system evolution, driving innovation and collaboration at a time of unprecedented budget cuts. His leadership has resulted in a fuller realization of the power of the system ─ that the colleges and universities are stronger together than any individual college or university could be on its own.
“Under Chancellor Rosenstone, we have moved forward the vision we had for MnSCU over two decades ago,” said Roger Moe, former Minnesota State Senate Majority leader and architect of the merger.
During his tenure, Rosenstone recruited 21 of the 30 current Minnesota State Colleges and Universities presidents. The group reflects the changing face of Minnesota and Rosenstone’s commitment to diversity; almost a third come from communities of color and nearly half of the presidents are women.
“Of the accomplishments I am most proud of,” said Rosenstone, “nothing exceeds the pride I take in the extraordinary team of leaders I helped recruit to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the team we built. Their commitment to our students and to the communities we serve is truly inspiring. I have every confidence that they will continue the critical work we have begun together. Minnesota is extremely fortunate to have these dedicated individuals leading our state colleges and universities.”
Rosenstone’s term ends July 31, 2017. Details on the search for his successor will be announced this spring.