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Anton "Tony" Potami
Tony Potami, longtime U administrator, dies
Published on June 7, 2004; updated June 15, 2004
Anton "Tony" Potami, a University of Minnesota administrator for 31 years, including time as associate vice president, died June 3 in St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Paul, of complications from multiple myeloma. He was 61.
Potami served as director of the University's Office of Research and Technology Transfer Administration (ORTTA) from 1983 to 1996. During his time at the University, licenses for faculty inventions rose from 10 in 1983 to more than 275 in 1996.
"Your tireless efforts to promote research and technology transfer had an enormous impact on the University's research enterprise," President Bob Bruininks wrote in a letter to Potami in May. "It is largely due to your leadership that we came to recognize both the importance and the viability of a business incubator for the University."
Bruininks remembered Potami handing out Honeycrisp apples at a regents meeting as an example of "'the sweet taste of success' that can occur in the research-to-practice enterprise." Honeycrisp apples were developed at the University.
Potami recognized the potential to fund a business incubator from royalties of University patents and fought for licensed properties royalties that belonged to the University, according to Bruininks.
Potami grew up in Hibbing and was a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He left the University in 1996 and retired in 2003.
A visitation and funeral mass were held June 8 at the Church of the Assumption, 51 W. 7th St., St. Paul.
An obituary in the St. Paul Pioneer Press is at http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/business/8844308.htm.