Lissa Jones-Lofgren embraces the opportunity to bring thoughtful examination of African-American life and culture into the public discourse on radio, through podcasting, and for a time, through a newspaper column. She is the creator of ‘Urban Agenda’, a weekly program she has hosted on KMOJ Radio, Minnesota’s oldest black radio station, for the last 12 years. Lissa also hosts ‘Black Market Reads,’ a podcast of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, preserving and amplifying the black literary canon.
Immediate Past Chair, 2023-2024
Amelious N. Whyte Jr. serves as the Director of Public Engagement for the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts. He has worked at the University for more than 25 years including in the Office for Student Affairs and the Office of the Board of Regents. Amelious has a BS from the University of Southern California, an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the U of M. He volunteers as an Academic Advisor for Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, and also serves on the boards of the Campus Club, the Weisman Art Museum, Clare House, and the Governor’s Residence Council.
Greg Donofrio, 2020-2026
Greg Donofrio is associate professor of historic preservation and public history in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. He is co-founder of the Heritage Studies and Public History graduate program, which foregrounds inclusion, community engagement, and experiential learning to train the next generation of diverse heritage professionals. His work is dedicated to understanding, documenting, and preserving what communities feel is historic about their neighborhoods and special places. He is the winner of the 2016 American Collegiate Schools of Architecture Diversity Achievement Award.
Devin Driscoll, 2021-2024
Devin Driscoll is an attorney with the Twin Cities firm Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. His practice is a mix of business litigation, energy and environmental regulatory matters, and appellate work. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, Devin served as a judicial law clerk for Associate Justice David L. Lillehaug of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Chief Judge John R. Tunheim of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife, Katie, and their son, Jack.
Will Hegeman, 2023-2026
Will Hegeman spent more than 20 years as an executive director for various mission-focused nonprofits in the areas of global hunger relief, education and training, and social justice. He received an M.A. in English Literature/Art History from the University of Minnesota and enjoyed time as an art critic for local and national publications, a business magazine columnist, marketing agency creative director, and newsletter publisher. He relishes exploring books on most any subject and finds delight in supporting young learners as a substitute teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools.
Matthew Holm, 2021-2024
Matthew Holm, a proud alumnus of the U of M CLA and Humphrey School of Public Affairs, is the Program Manager for Carlson Corporate Affairs. He spearheads many of the community relations initiatives across Carlson business entities — including employee giving and volunteerism, community engagement, and nonprofit partnerships. He also supports corporate grantmaking, sponsorships, and responsible business programs. With a few different career past lives that include radio, hotels, and manufacturing, Holm feels privileged to have spent the last decade+ working within the influential nonprofit, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility communities right here in the Twin Cities.
Jeremy Iggers, 2018-2024
Jeremy Iggers is a semi-retired journalist, university instructor and social entrepreneur. Current activities include studying Persian language, history and culture, playing banjo in a jug band, and managing the GlobalTwinCities.com website. Previously, he was a staff writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and publisher of the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He lives in south Minneapolis with his wife Carol and two cats.
Divya Karan, 2022-2025
Divya Karan is an Information Technology (IT) professional who has worked for Fortune 100 companies as well as public universities like the University of Minnesota, The Graduate Center at the City University of New York and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Divya likes to be engaged in her various communities by volunteering her time to activities like teaching Hindi language at School of India for Languages and Culture and serving on the boards of schools and organizations whose work she finds incomparably impactful. She served on the board of Nova Classical Academy in Saint Paul and is continuing on the board of the exceptional Ananya Dance Theatre. She enjoys contributing to proposal evaluations for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council as well as being active in social justice solidarity groups focusing on South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.
Jean M. O’Brien, 2021-2024
Jean M. O’Brien (citizen, White Earth Ojibwe Nation) is Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Northrop Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. She is a co-founder and past president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and inaugural co-editor (with Robert Warrior) of the association’s journal, Native American and Indigenous Studies. She has published six books, and her most recent, Allotment Stories: Indigenous Land Relations Under Settler Siege (edited with Daniel Heath Justice) will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in fall 2021. She was elected a member of the Society of American Historians in 2016.
Donavan Begay Postier, 2023-2026
Donavan Begay Postier, M.Ed. is the Director of Adult and Family Empowerment at Little Earth Residents’ Association in Minneapolis. She is responsible for developing and implementing programs and services that support the well-being and self-determination of adults and families in the community. She was born and raised in White Cone, Arizona, Navajo Nation, and obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota. She maintains strong connections to her cultural and ancestral roots and facilitates access to information and resources for her community members.
Joshua Preston, 2019-2025
Joshua Preston, J.D., is a writer and historian whose work has appeared in Minnesota History, Rain Taxi Review, and elsewhere. He is a past recipient of a Springboard for the Arts Hinge Arts Residency (2016), Minnesota History’s Solon J. Buck Award for Best Article of the Year (2016), and a Minnesota Historical Society Legacy Research Fellowship (2017).
Jessica Reza, 2020-2023
Jessica Reza graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2014. She works for the University of Minnesota Press and participates in local and national literary events. Jessica is pursuing an M.B.A. from the Carlson School of Management, graduating in December of 2020. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and enjoys traveling, a night out at the Guthrie, and perusing local bookstores.
Jerry Rinehart, 2020-2026
Jerry Rinehart retired as the University of Minnesota’s Vice Provost and Dean of Students. Previously he served as the Carlson School Assistant Dean of Students. As vice provost he led the adoption of undergraduate Student Development Outcomes and a Strength-based approach to student orientation and advising. In Carlson he spearheaded the conversion from an upper division program to an outstanding freshman-admitting college. He has served on the Weisman board and held leadership roles for the University YMCA and the U of M Retirees Association. He has a B.A. from Dartmouth College, an M.A. from Middlebury College, and an M.B.A. from the U of M Carlson School of Management.
Molly Hagen-Robare, 2022-2025
Molly Hagen-Robare leads the Research Services team at Robins Kaplan, supporting the firm’s legal research and business intelligence needs. Molly oversees the coordination, delivery, and day-to-day operations of the Research team’s resources and services. Hagen-Robare’s major areas of work include research technology procurement and vendor management, product training and awareness, technology innovation awareness, budget planning, and strategic planning. She holds a Master in library and information science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Wheaton College.
Leslie Schiff, 2021-2024
Leslie Schiff joined the University of Minnesota in 1990 and currently is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Microbiology and as faculty liaison for the College of Biological Sciences Writing-Enriched Curriculum. She is also Associate Dean for the Undergraduate Curriculum in the Office of Undergraduate Education. Schiff has received University and national awards for her teaching. She currently holds a multi-institution NSF grant to understand how writing-to-learn pedagogies can be implemented and assessed in large STEM lecture classes.
Rekhet Si-Asar, 2020-2026
Rekhet is the Executive Director of In Black Ink, a non-profit that seeks to create spaces where the intergenerational stories about Minnesotans of African heritage can be shared, documented, and archived. She is also a School Psychologist in Minneapolis Public Schools with a B.S. degree from Hunter College in Child Psychology and Communications; a Masters (in route) from the Institute of Child Development; and, Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) from the University of Minnesota School Psychology Program. Rekhet co-founded the Imhotep Science Academy and Initiatives, an African-centered K-8 educational STEM program and co-founded and served as the Operations Manager and in-house artist at Papyrus Publishing.
Clarence White, 2022-2025
Clarence White is the Associate Director of the East Side Freedom Library and an instructor at Minneapolis College. He is a writer and typewriter poet with almost a decade and a half of library and bookselling experience. He has worked for a wide range of organizations including the National Farmers Union, the literary journal Saint Paul Almanac, as a bookseller with the Hungry Mind Bookstore, and as a library clerk with Ramsey County Library. He is a past Retreat Fellow with the Givens Foundation on African American Literature and is in the anthology “Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota.” He also teaches ice skating with Brownbody and is intrigued by baseball stories and how they are vivid touch points for American history. He lives in Saint Paul.
Hui Wilcox, 2022-2025
Hui Wilcox, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Critical Studies of Race/Ethnicity at St. Catherine University. Born and raised in a rapidly changing China, Hui Wilcox received her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2004 from the University of Minnesota. She is a founding member of Ananya Dance Theatre, a Twin Cities-based dance company. Her research and writing have been focused on sociology of dance especially in connection to ethnic and national identities, racialization, and resistance in the form of transnational feminism. Wilcox is currently studying the institutionalization of mindfulness from an Asian American perspective, and researching the socio-political implications of Ethiopian cultural performance, both in Ethiopia and its diaspora. Her research-based creative writing can be found in the book “Dancing Transnational Feminisms”: Ananya Dance Theatre and the Art of Social Justice (University of Washington Press 2022).
Jennifer Haskin Will, 2022-2025
Jennifer Haskin Will is an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at Hamline University, where she teaches employment law and legal research and writing skills to undergraduates and graduate students in Hamline’s Master in the Study of Law program. Before she started teaching, Will practiced employment law in the Twin Cities and raised three boys with her husband, Jerry. The current focus of her academic research is work-life balance and the post-pandemic future of work. She enjoys cooking, running, Nordic walking, biking, and, of course, reading.
Marlene Zuk, 2019-2025
Marlene Zuk is a Regents Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota, and has loved books and libraries all her life. She writes for both academic audiences and the public, and has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. She has written four books aimed at a general audience, and thinks that everyone should appreciate the insects around them.
Lisa A. German
University Librarian and Dean of Libraries
McKnight Presidential Professor
Director of Advancement
Events and Friends Coordinator
Director of Development