August 31, 2008
"The Benedictines at Saint John's opened up the world to a kid born and raised in Stearns County," said John Brandl '59 in an interview in 2002.
A former Minnesota legislator, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Saint John's University, Saint John's Regent and professor and former dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, Brandl passed away in the evening of August 18 in Minneapolis, MN.
"The Saint John's community is saddened by the death of alumnus, colleague, former Regent and beloved friend John Brandl," said Br. Dietrich Reinhart, OSB, president of Saint John's University. "John Brandl was a giant in Minnesota politics and economics. He combined a brilliant mind for scholarship with an unusual ability to apply theory and research as a public servant in numerous policy-making positions, both in Minnesota and at the national level. He had an abiding faith in the capacity of Benedictine values to foster decency, integrity and generosity. The wisdom and balance John demonstrated throughout his life provide enduring inspiration for all."
Brandl graduated cum laude from Saint John's with a degree in economics and went on to earn a M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. "I majored in economics at Saint John's University because the great Fr. Martin Schirber saw potential and challenged me to do so," said Brandl. Fr. Martin Schirber '31, OSB, taught economics at Saint John's from 1939-1979.
Brandl served in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of Economic Opportunity, the Economic Development Administration, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He served 12 years in the Minnesota Legislature.
Brandl was a nationally respected authority in state government, politics and finance, as well as social and educational policy. He served as president of a number of national and regional groups including the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and the Citizens League of the Twin Cities. He was a past Regent of Saint John's University. His honors included the President's Award for Outstanding Career Contributions, American Evaluation Association; Saint John's University Alumni Achievement Award; Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration; Governors Association Award for Distinguished Service to State Government; and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Prize for Academic Excellence, for his valor in promoting school choice and educational reform during his years in the Minnesota Senate. He was the author of Money and Good Intentions Are Not Enough (Brookings Institution Press, 1998).
During Brandl's illustrious teaching career, he held positions at Boston College, Harvard University, Saint John's University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of the Philippines and the University of Sydney.
He is survived by his wife, Rochelle, and three children: Christopher, Mary Katherine and Amy.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, August 24 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Washburn McGreavy, 5000 West 50th and Hwy 100, Edina, MN. Funeral services are schedules for noon on Monday, August 25 at the Basilica in Minneapolis. Burial will be on Tuesday, August 26 at the Saint John's Abbey Cemetery at 3:00 p.m. with a reception to follow in the Great Hall.