Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Win Wallin

And the Legacy Lives On

            On January 7th, over a thousand people gathered at the McNamara Center of the University of Minnesota to celebrate the life of Win Wallin, one of Minnesota’s very finest.  His accomplishments are legendary ranging from leading Medtronics to world-class status to unparalleled generosity in building the Wallin Foundation Partners Foundation that has granted over $32 million in scholarships to deserving and needy students from public schools seeking to attend the University of Minnesota.  It was surprising how many recipients were in attendance at the ceremony coming from as far away as New Orleans.

            All the presentations were extraordinarily well done laced with Win’s humor and interesting way of looking at life.

            Driving home, it occurred to me that Win was the epitome of the “Greatest Generation” understanding loyalty, warmth and getting to the point with a healthy touch of humor and modesty.  The simple fact is that Win Wallin knew how to bring out the best in others because he brought out the best in himself.

            One of his closet colleagues from the same generation is Carl Platou who parachuted behind enemy lines in the Pacific in World War II and rose to become the head of Fairview Hospital and national leader in hospital management and satellite organization.  But it was the University of Minnesota and their love for the Maroon and Gold that truly brought them together.  Carl assembled a team of prominent Minnesotans and formed the Dean’s Board of Advisors for the Medical School.  Of course, he asked Win Wallin to serve as Chairman and then they went about raising some $300 million to advance medical research in Minnesota.  Just think about the thousands and thousands of lives that will be positively affected by this visionary medical endeavor.  What a magnificent legacy.

            A week later, Susan and I had dinner with a Minnesota couple who are big Gopher fans.  Here was another member of the Greatest Generation who quietly and modestly has endowed scholarships for the School of Pharmacy at the University. 

And the good works continue…
with the announcement that Bob Pohlad will take over as Chair of the Medical Board of Advisors and maintain Win’s leadership along with Carl Platou.  I do not know Bob well but have been impressed with his quiet leadership and “lets do it” approach.  Seems to me that the legacy lives on.

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