MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — University of Minnesota Regent and retired Cargill executive David M. Larson has died at age 70, the university said Monday.

Larson’s family said he died Saturday after a brief illness, according to the university. Larson, of Wayzata, was in his second term as a regent. He retired from Cargill in 2010 after 44 years with the Minnesota-based food company.

READ MORE: Russell, Towns Lead Wolves To Rare Win At Milwaukee

In 2008, Larson endowed a scholarship at the university aimed at addressing his concern about the rising cost of education for middle-class families. Since its inception, the university has admitted 350 Larson Scholars.

“The entire University of Minnesota community is saddened by the news that our friend and colleague has passed away,” Board of Regents Chair Richard Beeson said in a statement. “Dave was a passionate advocate for students, a strong proponent of efforts to increase employee engagement and a committed leader for the University. His legacy of service will long be remembered.”

Larson was first elected to the Board of Regents in 2005 and was re-elected to a six-year term in 2011. He served as the regents’ vice chair from 2011-2013. The board is the governing body of the University of Minnesota system and its five campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities.

In the statement, university President Eric Kaler said Larson “gave generously of his time, wisdom and philanthropy because he cared deeply for students and understood the power of education to change lives.”

READ MORE: Whitecaps Jump To 5th Place With 2-0 Win Over Loons

A native of Valparaiso, Indiana, Larson grew up in Glenwood, in western Minnesota. He got his degree in political science at the University of Minnesota.

Larson joined Cargill as a trainee in 1966 and was promoted to various management positions in Kansas City and Minnesota. In 1983, he was appointed president of Cargill’s Feed Division, and in 1995 was president of Cargill’s Animal Nutrition and Poultry Group, which then operated in 22 counties. He was elected executive vice president of Cargill in 1999.

Under the university’s charter, Gov. Mark Dayton may appoint a replacement to the Board of Regents who would serve until the Legislature elects someone to fill the remainder of Larson’s term, which would have ended in 2017.

But since there are several other upcoming vacancies on the board, Dayton decided after conferring with the university to proceed with the regular appointments process when lawmakers convene in January, Dayton press secretary Matt Swenson said Monday.

Survivors include Larson’s wife, Janis; two sons, David Lance and Reid; a granddaughter; a sister and a brother. A public memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. in the DQ Club Room at TCF Bank Stadium on the university’s Minneapolis campus.

MORE NEWS: 'We Do Have It Handled': Amazon's Shakopee Fulfillment Center Preps For Holiday Shopping Surge

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)