Campaign Leadership


Campaign Steering Committee

Fernando Bazan | Chief Technology Officer, Bio-Techne University of Minnesota Medical School, Adjunct Faculty 

Fernando BazanTrained in biochemistry and biophysics at Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Bazan led groups in biotherapeutics discovery as a senior scientist at DNAX Research Institute and Genentech, and served as chief scientific officer at a neuroimmunology diagnostics startup. He joined Bio-Techne as chief technology officer in 2013 and is an adjunct faculty member in the University’s Department of Pharmacology. Bio-Techne supports the Monica Tsang and James Weatherbee Merit Scholarship in Biology. Dr. Bazan’s wife, Sirid, earned a B.S. and a Ph.D. from CBS. 

Robert Buck | Statistician, StatAnswers Consulting | B.S. Biology, ’82 

Robert BuckRobert Buck’s first job after graduation from the College of Biological Sciences was at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, where he developed the science reserve’s first database. He went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in statistics at the University of Illinois and the City University of London. Over the course of his career, Dr. Buck taught at Western Michigan University, held several positions in biostatistics at Pfizer Corporation and launched his own firm, StatAnswers Consulting, in 2009. He and his spouse, Dr. Cheryl Quinn, support a scholarship for high-achieving CBS students with financial need. 

Mary Kemen | Anesthesiologist, Hawkeye Anesthesia | B.S. Botany, ’78; B.S. Biochemistry, ’79; M.D. ’84 

Mary KemenMary Kemen is an anesthesiologist affiliated with UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She also worked for Doctors Without Borders in South Sudan and Nigeria. Dr. Kemen grew up in Minnesota and is a fourth -generation Gopher. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School 100 years after her great grandfather started as a freshman in the College of Agriculture. Dr. Kemen created a scholarship in honor of her mentor longtime plant biology Professor Douglas Pratt. 


Cheryl Quinn | Consultant, QnA Pharma Consulting | B.S. Biochemistry and Microbiology, ’85 

A MinnesCheryl Quinnota native, Cheryl Quinn completed her undergraduate degree at the College of Biological Sciences and earned her doctorate degree at the University of Illinois. Dr. Quinn has more than two decades of experience in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industries and served as CEO of ImmuVen, Inc., a T-cell receptor-based technology company. She is an active reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and a longtime member of the editorial board of Applied & Environmental Microbiology. Dr. Quinn and her spouse, Dr. Robert Buck, support a scholarship for high-achieving CBS students with financial need. 

Russell Rothman | Owner and Vice President (retired), M. Rothman & Company | M.S. Ecology, ’77 

Russell RothmanFor over 30 years, Russell worked with his two brothers operating one of the oldest and most successful wholesale electronics distributorships. He sold the business in 2012 and retired. While a graduate student at CBS, he studied wolves and did field research in northern Minnesota and Israel. Mr. Rothman supports a fellowship honoring his mother, Florence Rothman, who inspired and appreciated his love of nature. Rothman is board chairman of Alzheimers New Jersey, the state’s preeminent organization providing information and help to families and caregivers. He is also board co-chair of the American Society for the Protection of Nature In Israel, representing Israel’s oldest and largest conservation organization in the United States. 

Lolly Schiffman | Physician (retired), Kaiser Permanente | B.S. Biology, ’73; M.D. ’78 

Lolly SchiffmanOriginally from Gibbon, Minnesota, Lolly Schiffman completed her undergraduate degree and medical training at the University of Minnesota. She moved to San Francisco following medical school, where she completed a residency at the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco, a fellowship in diabetology at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine and launched her medical career at Kaiser Permanente focusing on treating diabetes. Previously, Dr. Schiffman served on the board of the the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. She founded and supports a CBS scholarship that honors her daughter Suzanna Ashmore Nelson. 

Kip Thacker | Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Lifecore Biomedical | B.S. Microbiology, ’76; Ph.D. Microbiology, ’84 

Kip ThackerKip Thacker became chief scientific officer and vice president of Lifecore Biomedical in 2010 where he has worked since 1981. Dr. Thacker is co-inventor of the Lifecore hyaluronan fermentation and manufacturing process. He has a long history of alumni leadership at CBS. Shortly after receiving his Ph.D., he assisted with an outreach program for high school students. He also served as president of the College of Biological Sciences Alumni Society and as a member of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s national board. He supports a number of CBS funds, including the Dean’s Strategic Initiative Fund and the Palmer Rogers Scholarship, as well. 

Heidi Thorson, Perinatal Physician, Minnesota Perinatal Physicians, B.S. Biochemistry and Genetics and Cell Biology, ’98.

thorsonHeidi Thorson received here M.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine and completed her residency at Washington University-Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Dr. Thorson is board-certified in maternal fetal medicine, and provides expert and personalized high-risk obstetrical care at area hospitals including Abbott Northwestern and United. While at CBS, she was a student worker in the Dean's office and frequently helped with the Development and Communications operations.  She also founded the student-to-student mentoring program, which has been integrated into programs throughout the College.

CBS Campaign Team

Valery Forbes Dean, College of Biological Sciences 

Reede Webster Chief Advancement Officer

Keegan Carda Advancement Associate

John Curry Development Officer 

Lance Janssen Marketing and Communications Coordinator 

Claire Wilson Content Strategist

Stephanie Xenos Director of Marketing, Communications and External Relations