News Release

U of M President Joan Gabel Named University Vice Chair for Council on Competitiveness

President Joan Gabel

Today, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel was named the new university vice chair for the Council on Competitiveness, a national non-profit organization committed to increasing the United States' economic competitiveness in the global marketplace and bringing high-value economic activity into the United States. The nonpartisan Council welcomes CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and national lab directors among its membership.

“I am honored to join the Board of the Council on Competitiveness and represent its incredibly innovative academic members,” Gabel said. “As a Council, we have a unique opportunity to leverage our collective competitive advantage — the diverse perspectives of our membership spanning academia, industry, labor and our national laboratory enterprise — to come together to solve the greatest challenges facing our country. I look forward to working with my fellow Board members to explore new opportunities to enhance America’s long-term inclusive prosperity.”

Gabel has been an active member of the Council and a National Commissioner in its flagship initiative, the “National Commission on Innovation & Competitiveness Frontiers,” experience that positions her well for her new leadership position. Her academic and administrative credentials from higher education also uniquely suit this role. 

Under her leadership, the University surpassed $1 billion in annual research expenditures for the first time in its history (a number also placing it among the nation’s leaders), elevated into the top one-percent of patent-producing universities, achieved a record-setting year in private philanthropy and, after a national competition, was awarded host institution status for the U.S. Department of Defense’s BioMade initiative for manufacturing innovation. She has also led work to deepen the University’s actions to build a more equitable and just community and initiated an innovative approach to keep students, faculty and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gabel’s academic interests range from innovation to risk management with an emphasis on the legal and ethical environment of business and governance, and her research has been published in both scholarly and professional journals, receiving numerous awards and citations. She has been recognized as a Fulbright Scholar, and has served as editor-in-chief of the American Business Law Journal and the Journal of Legal Studies in Business.
“I welcome Joan as a university leader for the Council,” notes Council Chairman Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO, Bank of America. “The University of Minnesota is a leader in research and education and the council looks forward to gaining the benefits of her perspective and expertise.”

In addition to her role with the Council on Competitiveness, Gabel serves as a champion for MBOLD, a public-private coalition accelerating solutions to pressing agro-food challenges, is a member of the board for the American Council on Education, Medical Alley Association and the Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP), including the MBP’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, and co-chairs the Association of American Universities (AAU) Advisory Board on Diversity and Racial Equity.

Deborah Wince-Smith, Council President and CEO adds: “Joan shares with her fellow Board members a distinctive vision for the Council and the country, as we emerge from a challenging year. With a focus on the power of innovation, entrepreneurship, experiential learning, diversity and inclusivity, Joan will help position the Council for a new phase of growth and engagement, shaping a powerful growth agenda for the United States.”  

For more information about the Council on Competitiveness, visit


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University Public Relations
Mon, 04/19/2021 - 16:11
U of M President Joan Gabel Named University Vice Chair for Council on Competitiveness
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities