Today, University of Minnesota Board of Regents Chair Ken Powell and University President Joan Gabel issued the following statements in response to the death of Regent Kao Ly Ilean Her, who was elected as the first Hmong woman to the Board of Regents in 2019. She was serving a six-year term from one of the Board’s at-large positions. Her was also a University of Minnesota Law School alum and an active civic leader.
Board Chair Ken Powell:
“I and my colleagues on the Board of Regents are devastated to learn about Ilean’s passing. Ilean’s death is not only the loss of a great colleague, but also the significant loss of a strong voice for diversity and inclusion in the Minnesota communities the University serves. She regularly used that voice in support of making the University affordable and accessible to all Minnesotans. Ilean was on the Board for a far too brief time, but she quickly established herself as a careful listener and a true champion for higher education in Minnesota. My Board colleagues and all of us at the University of Minnesota send our deepest condolences to Ilean’s family and her many many friends.”
University President Joan Gabel:
“I am heartbroken to learn about Ilean’s passing. She was such a strong advocate for the University of Minnesota and for all members of our University community. And for me personally, I sincerely appreciated the warmth of her welcome to me when I became president shortly after she joined the Board of Regents. Her service to the entire state of Minnesota, and in particular to Minnesota’s Hmong and Asian American Pacific Islander communities, is well known and celebrated. All of us at the University of Minnesota are proud to count her as an alum, as an advocate and as a friend, and we are inspired to carry on her service in all that we do. We send our very best wishes to her loved ones as they celebrate her life and legacy.”
- Campus Affairs