Matt Kramer named VP for university and government relations

Matt Kramer

Matt Kramer has been appointed vice president for university and government relations at the University of Minnesota, pending Board of Regents approval at its February meeting.

With the appointment, U of M President Eric Kaler is combining the Office of University Relations and the Office of Government and Community Relations into one unit under shared leadership. The move is part of a continued effort to align and integrate functions within the University where symmetries and collaboration already exist.

“Matt is a seasoned public affairs executive who brings a track record of success working in both the public and private sectors,” said Kaler. “This new structure will achieve efficiencies by bringing marketing, public relations and government and community relations under one leader, and I am confident that Matt can build on the strong foundation already in place. His lifelong support of the U is a nice bonus.”

As vice president for university and government relations, Kramer will serve as the University’s chief lobbyist and lead the U’s marketing, public relations and government and community relations functions. These teams develop and execute public affairs, marketing and public relations strategies to enhance support and engagement among the University’s broad base of stakeholders – local, state, and federal policymakers; citizens of Minnesota; alumni, donors, and friends of the University; University faculty, staff and students; and community partners and neighbors. Reporting to President Kaler, Kramer will also be a key member of the President’s senior leadership team.

“The University is a statewide treasure that changes people’s lives in so many ways, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of that,” said Kramer. “I have long admired the University and the work that comes out of here, and look forward to working with the existing teams in university and government relations as we bring them together.”

Kramer currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Kramer leads Minnesota’s largest local chamber, with more than 1,200 members. Under his leadership, the organization restored profitability and rebuilt a reserve fund, built the brand, exponentially increased media visibility, and fostered strong relationships with civic partners, to the point that the organization’s opinion is actively sought for input on a range of policy issues. Last year, Kramer was named one of the region’s Most Admired CEOs by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Prior to joining the Chamber in 2010, Kramer worked at the U of M in the Office of Business Relations, leading a team that marketed business services from the University to the business community statewide. Before that, he served as the chief of staff to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and also spent time as Gov. Pawlenty’s commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development. He started his career in the private sector, working for British Telecom and in software sales.

Kramer has served on a number of local boards, including TPT’s Citizen’s Advisory Council, the Community Advisory Board for the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Knight Foundation, and Como Friends. He received his Ed.D. in Leadership from Creighton University, his M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Bethel University, and his B.S. from the University of Minnesota.


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