Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause, Ph.D.

Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause at a podium speaking in Kiehle Auditorium

Throughout her career, Mary Holz-Clause, Ph.D., chancellor at the University of Minnesota (UM) Crookston since 2017, has created and grown opportunities for universities, students and businesses alike, coast-to-coast, in areas of traditional and value added agriculture, entrepreneurship, economic development, scientific and medical discovery.

In positions at tier 1 research since 1986, she has created opportunities by integrating curricula, bold outreach and outside funding with student, community, state and national needs. Strength in degree programming, international connections and student advancement have followed. Holz-Clause has demonstrated leadership at three major land grant universities, including the University of Connecticut (UConn), where she was vice president for economic development, Iowa State University of Science & Technology (ISU), where she created initiatives in value added agriculture and held administrative positions over the entirety of Extension, and the University of Minnesota (UM), where she grew online degree programs at Crookston. In 2021, UM expanded Holz-Clause’s position to cover two campuses as acting executive chancellor for both the experiential and online presence of Crookston and a more traditional liberal arts campus at Morris. At UM, as with her other major university roles, Holz-Clause specifically addressed goals to increase diversity, fundraising, a global presence, educational achievement, research and outreach, particularly into rural areas.

Among prior accomplishments

  • 2014-2017, dean of agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona (CA). Cal Poly is a Hispanic-serving institution. The college became the Donald Huntley Endowed College of Agriculture with a $30 million gift, secured in her tenure. She also was appointed to a highly sought position on the 15-member California State Board of Food and Agriculture, an advisory board to the governor. California is the largest ag state in the U.S.
  • 2011-2014, vice president for economic development, UConn. Holz-Clause was charged with growing the fertile industrial and invention bases of the Northeast. She vigorously led technology commercialization, patenting, tech transfer, incubation and medical discovery. She laid groundwork and channeled investment (with a billion dollar increase in funding appropriations) into a new and regionally-competitive, state-of-the-art Tech Park. She secured the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on campus, and oversaw more than $1 million in patent and licensing revenues yearly, 71 disclosures, 52 patents and technology incubation services (40,000 square feet on three campuses).
  • 2006-2011, associate vice president of Extension and outreach and associate director of Iowa Cooperative Extension Service, ISU. She oversaw 100 county offices, 1,000 staff and $100 million in budget (contract/grant, state and federal funds), and was director of global programs. Earlier at ISU, she created the Value Added Agriculture Center and founded the multi-state-based Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC), a vital online resource for new ag endeavors nationwide.
Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause with her husband, faculty and staff at a tailgate

Overall, Holz-Clause has helped to secure well over $40 million in grant funding for emerging and ongoing initiatives, creating important partnerships along the way. She has been a tenured professor of agricultural business, of agricultural business management and agriculture science and of Extension. She has authored numerous scholastic papers and Extension publications and is internationally acclaimed. Prior to academia, Holz-Clause was with the Iowa Department of Economic Development, where she launched the first-in-nation ethanol program. She also taught vocational agriculture in Iowa.

Holz-Clause has a B.S. degree in agricultural business, a Masters of Public Administration and a Ph.D. in agriculture education and technology transfer, all from ISU. She and her husband, Reg Clause, a retired Iowa farmer and ISU Extension specialist, have three grown daughters, who work in fields of agriculture and engineering.