Nicole James Gilchrist ’03 will become chair of the Mitchell Hamline board of trustees, as of July 1. Gilchrist, who has served on the board since 2014, is currently vice chair. She will succeed Frank Harris ’75, who has been chair since 2020.
“Mitchell Hamline honors its history by continuing to work to find ways to expand access to legal education to all, and I’m excited to help in that work as board chair,” said Gilchrist. “I look forward to helping the law school advance its important mission.”
Gilchrist is vice president and managing counsel for Thrivent. She has worked more than 15 years in the financial services industry and is actively engaged in industry organizations, including the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Financial Services Institute and the American Council of Life Insurers. She’s also a member of the Minnesota Corporate Pro Bono Council and provides pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations.
She will be the first Black woman to chair the law school’s board.
“I am grateful for Frank Harris’ leadership on our board during the COVID pandemic,” said President and Dean Anthony Niedwiecki. “He helped us plan well for our future during an uncertain time.
“I also congratulate Nicole on her historic election as chair. I have enjoyed working with her and know she’ll take on this role with the same enthusiasm and determination I’ve already seen on the board.”
Jim Jacobson, senior vice president and general counsel at Medica, will replace Gilchrist as vice chair of the board. Steven Kirsch ’76 and Gregory Buck ’87 will remain secretary and treasurer, respectively. Harris will continue to serve as a member of the board.
“One of the ways our school can expand access is through the scholarships we offer,” added Gilchrist. “That includes the new Lena Smith Scholarship, which reflects a new approach to how we offer aid based on financial need and strive to make law schools and the legal profession more inclusive.”