Emory Report
December 4, 2006
Volume 59, Number 13


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December 4 , 2006
John Engelen appointed VP for governmental affairs

BY ron sauder

John T. Engelen, director of federal relations for the University of Minnesota, has been named vice president for governmental affairs at Emory University, with a charter to advance Emory’s policy interests as a leading academic and healthcare institution at the federal, state and local levels. His appointment marks the first time Emory has named a vice president to head its governmental affairs program.

Engelen began his career in 1981 as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. David Durenberger of Minnesota, and as staff member of the U.S. Senate Government Affairs Committee. He served subsequently in top governmental relations positions for Associated Builders and Contractors and American Cyanamid Inc. in Washington, D.C., and Ecolab Inc. in St. Paul, Minn.

As director of federal relations at the University of Minnesota for the past seven years, Engelen was responsible for creating and implementing a unified federal relations agenda and communications plan, and for building awareness in Washington, D.C., for the university and its faculty, researchers and administrators.

He has held leadership positions in the Association of American Universities; The Science Coalition, a consortium of research universities; and other national and regional higher education associations. In 2002, he was recognized as one of the Top Ten Most Effective Lobbyists in D.C. by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“John Engelen comes to Emory with the wealth of experience, the vision for higher education and academic medical centers as they relate to the national agenda, and the deep understanding of the policy process at the federal level that we need to ensure a fair hearing for Emory’s goals and objectives,” said Kent Alexander, senior vice president and general counsel of the University.

The Office of Governmental and Community Affairs will continue to be part of the Office of the General Counsel, with Engelen serving as a key advisor to President Jim Wagner and the University’s senior leadership team. The office also includes Betty E. Willis, senior associate vice president for community relations and local government affairs, Linda Womack, director of state government affairs, and Cameron P. Taylor, a representative in Washington, D.C. Engelen will maintain his office in Atlanta but expects to be in Washington, frequently.

“Joining this nationally recognized institution is an exciting opportunity. I look forward to working under the leadership of President Wagner as Emory implements its impressive strategic plan and advances its profile with key federal, state and local officials,” said Engelen.

A graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., Engelen is active as a volunteer in YMCA Wilderness Camps and DeLaSalle High School programs. He and his wife, Judy Blaseg, have three children, ages 13, 16 and 19. Engelen will start at Emory in January.