Alumni Award Descriptions

Gaylord Anderson Leadership Award (Established in 1986)

The Gaylord W. Anderson Leadership Award is bestowed upon a graduate of the School of Public Health who embodies Anderson’s qualities as a visionary leader, teacher, collaborator and public health ambassador, and possesses an abundance of intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and the ability to inspire others. Recipients of the Leadership Award must have:
  1. demonstrated leadership and forward thinking, and advanced public health goals, initiatives and outcomes; 
  2. served as an exemplary model or mentor in his/her role as an educator, researcher, administrator, practitioner or advocate in public health; and 
  3. exhibited creativity and innovation in building partnerships, multidisciplinary teams or service structures to bring about change.
More information on Gaylord Anderson

See past recipients

Alumni Award of Merit (Established in 2014)

The Alumni Award of Merit recognizes graduates of the School of Public Health who have achieved professional excellence in the field of public health through numerous years of consistent performance and service, distinguished themselves in their particular profession or field of endeavor, and contributed substantially to the health and well-being of people, communities and society.

Alumni Innovator Award (Established in 2014)

The Alumni Innovator Award is bestowed upon a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health who has made, developed or implemented innovative ideas, approaches or solutions to public health services through science, practice or education while displaying qualities of persistence in pursuing his/her career.  
See past recipients


Emerging Leader Award (Established in 2014)

The emerging leader award is presented to an alumnus/a who has made a significant impact in his/her profession or community at large within 10 years of graduating from the School of Public Health. The emerging leader is often a quiet leader and someone who possesses integrity, credibility and competence.

Outstanding Mentor Award (New for 2017)

The outstanding mentor award is conferred upon an individual who has served as a dedicated mentor and has made outstanding contributions to the career and professional development for multiple SPH students through the SPH Mentor Program.

Gaylord Anderson: Mr. Public Health

Gaylord W. Anderson was the first dean of SPH and called the University of Minnesota his home from 1937 to 1970, setting the school on the successful course it enjoys today. From his birth on campus to his status as professor emeritus until his death in 1977, he made enormous contributions to the health and wellbeing of people worldwide.

Anderson’s lasting legacy is the training of hundreds of public health students who carried his philosophy into their practice throughout the world. He was widely known as Mr. Public Health because of his steady voice about the health and welfare of people and society, and his interest in streptococcal diseases, typhoid, polio and malaria. He co-authored a public health classroom classic, Communicable Disease Control, in 1941, followed by Global Epidemiology, a three-volume series.

Well respected in Minnesota and across the nation and the world, Anderson earned his medical and doctorate in public health degrees from Harvard University. He served as deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts State Health Department. Shortly after returning to the University to head a new School of Public Health, he took a leave of absence to direct medical intelligence in the U.S. Army during World War II. During his career, he also served as special advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO), a member of the U.S. delegation to the World Health Assembly, and consultant to the U.S. State Department.

Students, faculty and public health colleagues remember Anderson fondly for his gentle humor, legendary memory, persistent questioning, willingness to listen and intellectual vigor as a teacher, advisor and friend. He helped plant seeds for building and sustaining a well-grounded school and for making the world a better place.