Inside the Carlson School building

News & Notes: Spring 2022

Friday, April 8, 2022

Record-breaking Give to the Max Day Raises More Than $1 Million

A sign for Give to the Max Day

In a challenging year, the Carlson School community came together on November 18, 2021 to raise more than double the school’s Give to the Max Day goal, with contributions totaling more than $1 million.

Alumni and friends supported 11 different causes at the school, allowing donors to target their contributions to programs they care about or were important to their own experiences at the Carlson School. Causes included student emergency funding; scholarships; diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; and other areas of current need.

Volunteer leaders contributed an incredible $142,000 in matching funds to drive participation to their various causes. This included the Gophers of the Last Decade (GOLD) alumni board, which for the first time, challenged fellow recent undergraduate alumni to contribute to a Student Emergency Fund by matching contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $2,500. The fund raised more than $11,000—more than double their goal—which will go a long way in supporting students facing unexpected hardships.

Thanks to an increase in total donors—up more than 10 percent from 2020—and an alumni donor who made a $450,000 estate commitment, the fundraising total broke the Carlson School’s previous Give to the Max Day record by more than $500,000. These contributions helped the school secure a top three position statewide for 2021 Give to the Max Day campaign fundraising.

Business as a Force for Community Impact, 10 Years On

Bill and Susan Sands
Bill and Susan Sands

Using business as a force for good is central to the mission of the Carlson School, and a key reason many students choose to study here. Ten years ago, Bill, ’60 BSB, and Susan, ’69 BA, Sands established the Sands Family Social Ventures Fellowships to enable emerging leaders to launch their own social ventures or to further the work of community organizations already undertaking projects with social impact goals.

This year, a record 12 current MBA students will join one continuing project from the past academic year as Sands Fellows. These 13 students will exercise the entrepreneurial skills they are exploring in the classroom, while making an impact on their communities with the support of the Carlson School’s Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. The projects they’ve proposed and launched tackle diverse issues from music education to criminal justice to aiding farmers and supporting small and minority-owned businesses.

Since the program began, 59 Carlson School students and their social ventures have benefitted from the funding provided by the Sands family.

“Each year we are in awe of the way the Sands Fellows take on serious social issues that exist in the community,” says a joint comment from the Sands. “Enabling emerging leaders or entrepreneurs to make a real impact is one of the priorities we had hoped for in establishing the fellowships. We are anxious to see what the next decade of fellows will accomplish.”

Event Takeaways

People gather for a football game tailgate party
People gather for a Gopher Football Tailgate event.

Every event brings new insights and experiences.
Here are some highlights:

Focusing on Mental Health

Members of the Carlson Alumni Pride Network joined Michael Burson, a licensed clinical mental health counselor, and Nils Rykken, ’21 BSB, for an inspiring virtual session that affirmed the group’s and the Carlson School’s commitment to support members of the LGBTQ+ community toward personal and professional success.

Sustaining DEI Efforts

At Insight to Action, Professor John Kammeyer-Mueller led a panel discussion on how organizations can incorporate and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Panelists included Joffrey Wilson, ’99 BSB, director of DEI at Mortenson; Tawnya Stewart, chief people and culture officer at Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures; and Tonya Hampton, senior vice president and chief people and culture officer at Hennepin Healthcare. See the recording at

People pose for a group photo near picnic table at Surly Brewing Company
Members of the MBA Class of 2020 gathered for an informal reunion.

Safely Gathering In-person Once Again

We were excited to safely return to some in-person events in fall 2021, including 1st Tuesday, the Carlson School’s longest running business program, which met in-person in November and December; Carlson 360 for Alumni of Color affinity group met at the Carlson School where attendees could network and have updated professional headshots taken; and Ben Wright, ’05 MBA, inspired the crowd at the 6th Annual Military & Veterans Celebration in November.

Carlson School Day and Tailgate at Gopher Football

Investors Circle members and local alumni volunteers cheered on the Gophers football team at a lively tailgate event in November at the 3M Arena at Mariucci. While the Gophers weren’t able pull off a win against Illinois for the fans, attendees still celebrated Carlson School Day at the game! Learn more about the Investors Circle at

MBA Reunion

Carlson School MBA alumni celebrated a reunion in September 2021. The keynote address and lifelong learning opportunities were held virtually and featured Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer providing a school update, Carlson School faculty speaking about research topics of interest, and an incredible conversation about women of color in the workplace with Linh Peters, ’05 MBA. A few classes, including the Class of 2020 (pictured), were also able to gather and celebrate together informally.

Spring 2022 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Spring 2022 alumni magazine

Strength is determined by how we rise in the face of challenges. 

The Carlson School community remains an unstoppable force. 

Spring 2022 table of contents