Leslie Miller Altman (’75, P’08) was a pioneer of women in leadership, particularly committed to diversity and the elevation of the status of women in the legal profession. Her passion for breaking gender barriers began early. The summer after she graduated from Brown, Leslie became one of the first women hired as a Minneapolis Park Patrol agent. After graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School, Leslie joined the staff of Minnesota Attorney General, Hubert “Skip” Humphrey. Governor Rudy Perpich noted her work and appointed her at a young age as the first woman to serve as a judge on the Minnesota Worker’s Compensation Court of Appeals. Leslie twice co-chaired the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Diversity Task Force and also co-chaired its Diversity Survey Committee. Leslie was past president of Minnesota Women Lawyers and a former director of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. She participated in the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, and was one of the first women elected to the College of Workers Compensation Attorneys. In May 2012, the Hennepin County Bar Association presented Leslie with its Diversity Award. She was also previously admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Leslie met her husband of nearly 37 years, Frank Altman (’75) at a friend’s birthday party in Diman House. Having run out of cake, Leslie offered to drive to Dunkin Donuts and Frank eagerly volunteered to accompany her. They hit it off immediately and became fast friends for the rest of their course at Brown. After graduation from Brown, they moved to Frank’s native Minneapolis (Leslie was born in Harrison, New York), where they attended graduate school, Leslie law school at The University of Minnesota, began their careers and raised their daughters Miriam (’08) and Lauren Altman.
Leslie was a highly committed mother, mentor and role model to her daughters, and devoted wife. Leslie’s family continues to carry out her legacy as an active Brown alum and passionate advocate for female opportunity and leadership. Deeply connected to Brown, the Altman family, in partnership with the Swearer Center’s Social Innovate Initiative, created the Leslie Miller Altman Fellowship to honor Leslie’s commitment to providing opportunities to young women who strive to take risks for public advancement. As Frank, Miriam and Lauren are each active in social entrepreneurs in their own respective careers, the Leslie Miller Altman Fellowship, will be awarded annually to a female entrepreneur to help her grow to pursue her passions in social entrepreneurship.