On August 23, 1869, the regents of the University of Minnesota selected William Watts Folwell to be the school's president. He was the first of 16 presidents who have served the University of Minnesota. Each has left his mark on the institution's history and its traditions. Collectively, they have built the institution into an internationally known research university that is one of the state's most important assets.
Today, the president is supported in his responsibilities by an executive team including the provost and vice presidents, the chancellors of the statewide campuses, and the president of the University of Minnesota Foundation. The chief of staff provides direct, daily support to the president and oversees much of the day-to-day activity of the office.