Dahlen joins UMN Morris Distinguished Alumni

Sue Dieter
A photograph of Linda Dahlen, a woman with blonde, shoulder-length hair and blue eyes.

The University of Minnesota Morris Alumni Association (UMMAA) Board has named Linda Dahlen ’72 as its 2024 UMMAA Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. The award honors UMN Morris alumni who have made noteworthy contributions in their professional lives, in public service or in service to the University of Minnesota Morris.

A civil rights advocate, lawyer, environmentalist and novelist, Dahlen’s nominators call her a “strong role model for what UMM stands for,” and point to her life-long work “to further equality and fairness for everyone, as well as her support for UMN Morris and the environment.”

Dahlen came to Morris from Cokato, and graduated with high distinction with a double major in speech communications and Spanish. Her career started as an AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteer, and has included work as a human rights investigator, an affirmative action officer and director of the Office of Workforce Equity and Diversity for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).  

Dahlen’s work with MnDOT included the creation of the “Seeds” outreach and hiring program for underrepresented communities, which received a national award from the U.S. Department of Transportation and from the Governor of Minnesota. The Seeds program provides college-level student worker positions to highly motivated minority or economically disadvantaged college students.

In recent years, Dahlen has partnered with UMN Morris to preserve a gift of land as conservation habitat for the protection of native plants, animals and insects, and for UMN Morris research.

The award will be presented during the Alumni Association annual banquet on Friday, Sept.6, as part of the 2024 Homecoming celebration at UMN Morris.