George Leonard was a member of the Board of Regents appointed by Governor Elmer Benson. He was a founder of the Farmer-Labor Party and political activist. He founded the law firm Leonard, Street and Deinard, which was the first to include Jews and women partners. George Leonard served on the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Minnesota and in that role worked to integrate the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing. As a regent, he worked to restore the compensation of Professor William Shaper, who was fired by the regents in 1917 and then reinstated in 1938. The regents’ reversal led to the creation of academic freedom for faculty at the University of Minnesota.
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