Leaves change orange during the fall season outside the Carlson School of Management

A Time for Gratitude and Transition

Friday, October 14, 2022

Jess Kowal
Jess Kowal, Interim Assistant Dean for Institutional Advancement

In the months since I joined the Carlson School, I have enjoyed learning—as we’ve all been reminded throughout this edition of the Carlson School Magazine—of the tremendous impact of the school’s people and their contributions toward making this community special. Dean Sri Zaheer’s accomplishments, the remarkable careers and research of our faculty and staff, and the incredible impact our donors and alumni leaders make on behalf of our students make it clear that this place is truly remarkable thanks to the passion and commitment of its people.

Continuing with the magazine’s theme of celebration and transition, it is my privilege to honor the success of our former assistant dean, Travis Smith. His partnerships with Dean Zaheer and the leaders on the school’s Driven. campaign committee led to the most successful philanthropic campaign in the school’s history, with more than $190 million raised. Just as importantly, Smith and the advancement team’s work helped to build upon the school’s strong connections to our alumni and benefactors that will sustain the school’s success in the future. We extend our gratitude to him as he embarks on a new role at the University of Minnesota Foundation.

I am thrilled to be joining the Carlson School as the interim assistant dean for Institutional Advancement, bringing my expertise and experiences in healthcare and higher education advancement to the Carlson School. Currently, I serve as the chief advancement officer at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health (SPH), guiding philanthropic priorities and alumni relations initiatives. In addition to leading SPH to success in its recent philanthropic campaign, I am proud of the transformation of the SPH advancement program to align and support Public Health’s Strategic Plan for Antiracism. Those efforts enabled the Public Health team to secure one of the largest gifts ever received by SPH to establish the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity and to engage our alumni around issues of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the student experience.

It has been a pleasure to be welcomed into this amazing community of people, and I look forward to building upon the incredible legacy you have created together!


Jess Kowal's signature




Jess Kowal, Interim Assistant Dean for Institutional Advancement

By the Numbers

Throughout her tenure as dean, Sri Zaheer has dedicated time and energy to strengthening the Carlson School’s connections with alumni, corporate partners, and friends, while bringing in funding to strengthen the school’s ability to deliver a world-class education to its students.


events attended in her role as dean


in new scholarship funding available to be awarded annually under Dean Zaheer’s direction


raised through philanthropy to the school under Zaheer’s leadership

Fall 2022 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Fall 2022 alumni magazine

Transitions present a time for celebration and reflection.

The Carlson School looks at past and present initiatives with an eye toward the future.

Fall 2022 table of contents