May 2016 Commencement Speaker

Penny Wheeler, M.D., President and CEO, Allina Health

Penny Wheeler, M.D., became the president and CEO of Allina Health in 2015. She had served as chief clinical officer since 2006 and president since 2013. Wheeler sets the overall strategic direction for Allina Health, focusing on ensuring that the organization delivers exceptional care and supports the health and well-being of all those served. A board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, Wheeler served patients at Women's Health Consultants in Minneapolis.

Wheeler has championed many initiatives within Allina Health designed to enhance the quality, experience and affordability of care. Under her leadership, Allina Health has sharpened its focus on serving those who have not always been well-served by the health care system, including individuals with disabilities through the creation of Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute; those with mental illness and addiction issues through significant investments in Allina Health’s mental health capabilities; and those at the end of life through innovative approaches which allow patients in late life to focus on what matters most. In addition, Wheeler led the creation of Allina Health’s clinical service line model which helps ensure patients across a wide range of specialties receive the right care at the right place at the right time.

In addition to her current role, Wheeler has chaired the Minnesota Community Measurement board, a regional health quality collaborative, and is on the board of Portico Healthnet, an organization dedicated to helping uninsured Minnesotans receive affordable health coverage and care.  She is also on the board of the Greater Twin Cities United Way and Health Catalyst. Minnesota Business magazine named Wheeler the 2012 Outstanding Health Care Executive, while in 2015 Modern Healthcare magazine recognized her as one of the top 25 women in health care. In July 2015, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed her to the Taskforce for Health Care Financing.

Allina Health is one of the nation’s leading health systems and was named one of the top five large health systems in the country.  The organization is made up of 14 hospitals, more than 90 clinics, 26,000+ employees and several related health care service companies including home health, hospice, transportation, medical equipment and retail pharmacy. 


Past Graduate Commencement Speakers

May 2015 Archie Black President and CEO, SPS Commerce
May 2014 Mark Rauenhorst Former Chairman and CEO, Opus Corporation
May 2013 Randall J. Hogan Chairman and CEO, Pentair
May 2012 Richard K. Davis Chairman, President and CEO, U.S. Bancorp
May 2011 Bill George Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO
May 2010 George W. Buckley Chairman, President and CEO, 3M
May 2009 Tim Flynn Chairman, KPMG International and KPMG LLP
May 2008 Andrew Duff Chairman of the Board and CEO, Piper Jaffray Companies
May 2007 Mary Brainerd President and CEO, HealthPartners
May 2006 Michael Hoffman President and CEO, The Toro Company