Wheelock Whitney, Jr., a civic leader giant in Minnesota and a former Carlson School instructor, passed away May 20 at 89 years of age.
From 1963 to 1972, Whitney served as CEO of the Minneapolis investment banking firm J.M. Dain and Co., now part of RBC Wealth Management U.S. After retiring from his position, he taught Top Management Perspectives at the Carlson School from 1973 to 1984. He was a pioneer in bringing top executives into the classroom to interact with his students. This practice had not been done before but has since become part of the Carlson School’s culture.
“It was the first time someone brought real-life to the classroom,” said Dileep Rao, a former Carlson School professor now at Florida International University. “I still remember a great class with him and Earl Bakken of Medtronic when Earl was just starting to take off and seemed a little lost. It was a great session. Wheelock was the master at analysis. Minnesota has lost a great son.”
In his memoir, Keep Moving, Whitney told how even years later he would meet former students still enthused about his class. “At least a dozen times a year people will come up to me, introduce themselves and say, ‘Wheelock, I took your course at the university. I’ll never forget it. It was the best course I took, by far. I remember more from that course than from any other.’ This happens to me in airports, in restaurants, and on the street. I love it.”
The University presented Whitney with a Regent’s Award in 2007 for his contributions as a teacher, ambassador, advocate, and benefactor. Whitney was honored because “He has long viewed the University as the state’s compass, whose strength and connection to the community are integral to the well-being of Minnesota. Through his loyalty, service, and remarkable generosity, Wheelock Whitney has helped the University of Minnesota to function not as a servant to the state, but as a leader for the many generations of citizens and scholars who find their path here.”
A full bio of Whitney can be found on the Star Tribune website as well as his obituary. A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, June 11, at 3:00 p.m. at Wayzata Community Church.