In recognition of his strong commitment to serving the Twin Cities community both as a professional and as a volunteer, Metropolitan State University recognized Gary Cunningham as its 2014 Alumnus of the Year at the 2014 Celebrating Service to the Community Scholarship Luncheon on Oct. 16 at Travelers in Saint Paul.
Cunningham has built a distinguished career strengthening communities of color and working toward economic justice. He is the president and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA). Prior to coming to MEDA, he was the vice president and chief program officer for the Northwest Area Foundation, where he was responsible for carrying out the foundation’s mission to support efforts to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity in the foundation’s eight state region.
Previous to his work at the foundation, Cunningham served in many leadership positions with various public and nonprofit organizations. He has also held leadership roles with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and the City of Minneapolis. He has served on many community boards and has received many honors and awards in recognition of his professional and volunteer work. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Metropolitan State in 1991 and earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in 1992.
Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, is America’s premier university for lifelong learning, providing unsurpassed, competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels while maintaining affordability.