Jon McTaggart to Receive 2015 Distinguished Minnesotan Award

Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of American Public Media Group, will be the 33rd recipient of Bemidji State University’s Distinguished Minnesotan Award.

First presented by Bemidji State in 1981, the Distinguished Minnesotan Award acknowledges the contributions of current or former residents of the state who have performed exemplary service to the people of Minnesota or the United States.

The Distinguished Minnesotan award was presented annually from 1981-2009, and was not awarded in 2010 or 2012. The honoree traditionally gives Bemidji State’s commencement address. The university’s 96th Commencement ceremony will be held May 8 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.

For more information on Bemidji State University’s commencement ceremony, visit

About Jon McTaggart
Jon McTaggart is chief executive officer of American Public Media Group, the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media and The Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn., Southern California Public Radio in Los Angeles and Classical South Florida in Miami.

McTaggart has been deeply involved in the growth of the group since 1983, beginning as an MPR station manager in Bemidji. He has since served in multiple capacities, including general manager, vice president of business development, senior vice president for new media, senior vice president of content and media and chief operating officer. In addition to his roles at American Public Media, McTaggart has led strategic planning, communications, fundraising and business development as executive director of a hospital foundation in Reading, Pa., and advancement and external relations as vice president of a liberal arts university in Riverside, Calif.

He is a member of the Second Harvest Heartland board and has previously served as a board member for the BSU Foundation and National Public Radio.

He and his wife Debra live in Maplewood, Minnesota, and have two daughters and three grandchildren.

McTaggart earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from Bemidji State and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Kutztown University.

• Maryhelen Chadwick, communications and marketing specialist, BSU Alumni and Foundation; (218) 755-2122,

• McTaggart’s official bio at Minnesota Public Radio:
• McTaggart on Twitter:

Recipients of Bemidji State University’s Distinguished Minnesotan award

1981 Sigurd Olson, naturalist and author
1982 Karl Kassulke, athlete and handicap advocate
1983 Janet Dearholt Esty, businesswoman and entrepreneur
1984 Frederick F. Manfred, author
1985 Dr. John Najarian, transplant surgeon
1986 Dr. Harlan Cleveland, political scientist
1987 Muriel Buck Humphrey Brown, advocate for the disadvantaged
1988 Elmer L. Andersen, businessman and former governor
1989 Curtis L. Carlson, businessman and philanthropist
1990 William S. Marvin, businessman and community leader
1991 Meridel LeSueur, writer and social activist
1992 Veda Ponikvar, newspaper publisher
1993 Nellie Stone Johnson, political and social activist
1994 Cheryl Dickson, leader in humanities programming
1995 William H. Kling, innovator in public radio
1996 Jerry Willet, businessman and former state senator
1997 Ann Bancroft, explorer of the North Pole and South Pole
1998 Bob Bergland, congressman and former U.S. secretary of agriculture
1999 Coya Knutson, congresswoman
2000 Jon Hassler, author and educator
2001 Libby Larsen, composer
2002 Rosalie Wahl, Minnesota Supreme Court justice
2003 Edgar Heteen, entrepreneur and snowmobile pioneer
2004 Herb Brooks, men’s ice hockey coach
2005 Gerald Vizenor, author and educator
2006 Kathleen Blatz, chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court
2007 Paul Wellstone, U.S. Senator & Shiela Wellstone, advocate against domestic abuse
2008 Dr. Alex Cirillo, Jr., vice president for community affairs, 3M
2009 Don Shelby, television anchor
2010 [no award given]
2011 Susan Marvin, president of Marvin Windows & Doors
2012 [no award given]
2013 Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, senior military assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Defense
2014 Trudy Rautio, Carlson Companies CEO
2015 Jon McTaggart, president & CEO, American Public Media Group