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Dean of UMD business school announces retirement

The dean of the University of Minnesota Duluth's Labovitz School of Business and Economics will retire June 30, the university announced Thursday. Kjell Knudsen has been dean for 15 years. He also served as associate dean and was the founding dir...

Kjell Knudsen
Kjell Knudsen

The dean of the University of Minnesota Duluth's Labovitz School of Business and Economics will retire June 30, the university announced Thursday.

Kjell Knudsen has been dean for 15 years. He also served as associate dean and was the founding director of the UMD Center for Economic Development. During his time as dean he launched several new programs including the Financial Markets Lab and the marketing analytics and financial planning programs. The college's MBA program was also launched in Rochester.

The name of the college changed during Knudsen's tenure to honor 1949 UMD graduate Joel Labovitz, who helped fund the new $23 million building in which it is housed that opened in 2008.

"Kjell has been key to the school's advancements," said Labovitz, chairman of Labovitz Enterprises, in a news release. "He has changed every aspect of the school for the better. ... He has put LSBE on such a solid foundation, it can't help but grow."

The final projects Knudsen spearheaded are expected to debut next year. Those are a collaborative degree program between the Labovitz school and the School of Fine Arts that combine marketing and graphic design and an online certificate in business administration that also supports the College of Liberal Arts cultural entrepreneurship program.

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Knudsen, a native of Norway, came to the U.S. on a Fulbright Scholarship to Gonzaga University in 1965. In 1979 he joined UMD's School of Business and Economics faculty.

A national search to replace Knudsen is under way.

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