NOVEMBER 28, 2011—Not every Law School graduate is a practicing attorney. Some prefer to enter the business world. That’s the case with Ronald (’60) and Kristine Erickson (’72), a couple who are partners in the private investment firm of Queenwood Capital Partners. "There’s an entrepreneurial DNA that runs through this family," Kris says.
Ron is also chairman and chief executive officer at Holiday Companies, a firm that operates 450 gasoline and convenience stores, and serves on the boards of Gander Mountain and other companies. Kris is a former partner at Lindquist & Vennum who turned her attention to volunteer efforts, serving on the boards of a Planned Parenthood affiliate, the Blake School, Lawrence University, and the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable. She also chairs the Law School’s Board of Advisors and is a member of the campaign cabinet.
Both say a Law School education is a huge asset in the business world. Issues with legal ramifications pop up frequently. "Just about everything we do is touched by the law," Kris says.
That’s one reason the pair have made a major donation to the Law School. Their gift will center on enhancing the curriculum to include a greater focus on market-based principles and entrepreneurial thinking. "We hope to increase partnerships with the Carlson School of Management," Kris says. "Plus many FORTUNE 500 companies are based here. There are just a lot of extraordinary opportunities we can tap into."
The details of those opportunities haven’t been finalized, but among the possibilities are corporate externships and other experiential learning. Says Kris, "Whether Law School graduates are practicing law, working in a governmental or public policy role, or fully engaged in business, it is vitally important that they develop critical analytical skills."
Ron and Kris also believe it’s vitally important to give back to an institution that gave them so much. "We’re grateful for the education we received from the Law School and we want to help during a critical time in the school’s history," Kris says.