Saint Paul - Governor Tim Pawlenty today appointed David Metzen as Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Metzen replaces Susan Heegaard who left the agency for a position with the Bush Foundation. Metzen begins his new position on Thursday, March 26.
Metzen, 67, is a past two-term member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and was Chair of the Board of Regents from 2003-05. He served the South St. Paul School District as superintendent from 1982-2000 and was previously an elementary school teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent specializing in curriculum in the district.
"Dave Metzen has a passion for education and the leadership skills to challenge our higher education system to reform and improve," Governor Pawlenty said.
Metzen graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1964. He later earned a master's degree and a doctorate in educational administration from the University. In addition to his education roles, he served as Executive Director of the Dodge Nature Center from 2001-2004, works as a leadership consultant, and has served on several non-profit boards.
"Minnesota has a world-class higher education system," said Metzen. "Our challenge is to help more Minnesotans achieve the promise of higher education while enhancing the performance of our higher education institutions. I look forward to helping Governor Pawlenty further his vision for higher education and working with our partners around Minnesota."
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is a cabinet-level state agency providing students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to postsecondary education. The agency serves as the state's clearinghouse for data, research and analysis on postsecondary enrollment, financial aid, finance and trends.
The Minnesota State Grant program, which is administered by the agency, is a need-based tuition assistance program for Minnesota students. The agency also oversees tuition reciprocity programs, a student loan program, Minnesota's 529 college savings program, licensing and an early awareness outreach initiative for youth. Through collaboration with systems and institutions, the agency assists in the development of the state's education technology infrastructure and library programs.