Commencement Speaker Roger Looyenga Biography

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Roger Looyenga retired in 2010 as chief executive officer and chairman of Auto-Owners Insurance Group, a Fortune 500 company, after almost 40 years of service.

Roger presented Minot State University with a $100,000 gift in 2010 to establish the Roger Looyenga Leadership College of Business Endowment in order to initiate a program in business leadership, an overlooked area in higher education. He felt too much emphasis is placed on management, which is directing processes, versus getting people to perform based upon their abilities.

A Mandan native, Roger graduated from then Minot State College with a bachelor’s degree in business education in 1968. While at Minot State, he participated on the tennis team, in intramural football and wrestling and was elected to the Student Council, the predecessor of today’s Student Government Association. He belonged to the Letterman’s Club, Greek Council, and was president of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity.

At Auto-Owners, Roger was a payroll auditor, underwriter at the Lansing branch, special agent for northern Indiana, manager of the marketing department, regional vice president of the White Bear Lake branch, vice president of the sales department, senior vice president of the property and casualty marketing department, senior vice president for the marketing department, company director, executive vice president and CEO and chairman.

During his early years at Auto-Owners, Roger met his wife, Ann, who also worked there. He and Ann have two sons, Justin, who resides in Traverse City, Michigan, and Nathan, who lives in Chicago. They now spend their winters in Arizona and summers in Michigan.

Roger wrote the books "Take the Stairs: Leadership Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Service with Auto-Owners Insurance Company" and "100 Year History of Auto-Owners."  His third book, "Something Said", is currently being published.