honors alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their chosen career or area of professional life.
Name: Diana J. Leland
Major: Music Education in Vocal and Instrumental Music
Home: Richfield, Minnesota
Employer: (Retired) Edina Public School System
Job Title: Choral Music Teacher and Teaching and Learning Specialist for the Arts
DIANA J. LELAND ’69 earned a bachelor's degree in music education from VU, with a double major in vocal and instrumental music. After completing a master's degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, Leland embarked on a 32-year career conducting and teaching choral music in Wisconsin and Minnesota. She invested 28 years in Minnesota's Edina Public School system, where she assumed multiple roles as a choral director and as a fine arts coordinator for music, theatre and visual arts until her retirement in 2005. From 1980 to 1983, Leland served as the first full-time general manager for the Dale Warland Singers, a 46-voice professional choral ensemble. During her three-year tenure in that position, Leland tripled the organization's budget and significantly increased the group's local and national profile and audience attendance. She has authored a number of articles for the Choral Journal, the International Choral Bulletin and other publications in her field and has held top leadership roles in the Minneapolis - St. Paul Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, the International Federation for Choral Music, and the American Choral Directors Association, in which she served as both Minnesota (1979-1981) and the North Central Division (1984-1986) president prior to serving as national president from 1989-1991. Leland has been awarded several distinguished recognitions, including the 2003 F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award (American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota), the 2008 Weston H. Noble Lifetime Achievement Award (North Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association), and the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award (University of Wisconsin - Platteville). Leland enjoyed returning to campus for her 25th reunion during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, and she recently joined other VU alumni and friends in Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minn. to celebrate her alma mater's 150th anniversary.