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MANDALA Summer 2017 Summer 2017

Live On, On, Give Give On, On, Dream Live Dream On On

MANDALA Table of Contents Live On, Give On, Dream On Letter from Mary Jo Kreitzer

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How One Man Directed His Dreams to Improve the Health and Wellbeing of Millions of People

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Ready, Fire, Aim

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Attributes of a Leader

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The Vision of Earl Bakken

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Bakken Provides President of Gustavus College Inspiration and Innovation

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Earl, Frankenstein, and Me

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Dreaming On

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Leadership and Inspiration

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An Ode in Praise to Earl Bakken: The Ultimate Dreamer of Visions for Humanity

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10 Points Related to Putting the Body Back Together

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The Story Still Being Written

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AUTHORS: Earl Bakken, Rebecca Bergman, Bill George, Omar Ishrak, Mary Jo Kreitzer, Dianne Lev, Kenneth Riff, John Wagner, Jean Watson DESIGN: Lauren Smith EDITOR: Kit Breshears, EDITORIAL STAFF: Pamela Cherry, Dianne Lev, Kaylee Lofboom, Holly Wilson Photos courtesy of, contributing authors, and Craig Blacklock. Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing Mayo Memorial Building, MMC #505 420 Delaware St. S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mandala is the Sanskrit word for “circle” and is a sacred symbol that mirrors a state of conciousness through a concrete pattern. Native Americans use mandalas as healing and transformational art in the sand; art therapists to facilitate healing; and Tibetans as visual representation of Buddhist beliefs. As a universal symbol of healing, the respective circles of the mandala capture the many diverse aspects of the Center’s work: reflection, transformation, spirituality, creation, and lastly, the ongoing journey that continues to shape what we are to become.

Mandala, a biannual publication, is produced by the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. Detailed information about Center research, events, academic courses, workshops, and more can be found on our website at Letters to the editor must include name, address, telephone number, and email address.


Live On, Give On,

Dream On This special issue of our news magazine, Mandala, honors Earl Bakken and commemorates the naming of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing in his honor. The theme that runs through the stories – live on, give on, and dream on – captures in many ways his philosophy of life. I invited close friends and colleagues of Earl’s to contribute reflections, and you will see in their stories that their love and esteem for Earl knows no bounds. Bill George, a former CEO of Medtronic, noted that only rarely in life do you have the opportunity to work with a true pioneer, a person who through his vision, inspiration, courage, and leadership can change the course of human history. Changing the course of human history is not an exaggeration. Medtronic, the company Earl co-founded, improved the lives of more than 70 million people in its last fiscal year through medical technology. In his reflection, the current CEO Omar Ishrak describes Earl’s new program, “Live on, Give on,” which challenges people who have received a device from Medtronic to give back to others and their communities. Omar notes that some might think it to be just a dream that people would use their “extra life” to help others, but Earl has always been a dreamer and seemingly impossible dreams can be accomplished together. I so enjoyed Ken Riff’s essay where he describes being a new employee at Medtronic and having Earl, in a most unassuming way, join the engineers having lunch in the employee cafeteria where he began to quiz them on their newest and most exciting projects. In reading President of Gustavus Adolphus College Rebecca Bergman’s essay, I recalled an experience Becky and I had with Earl close to a decade ago. We were invited along with Earl’s son, Jeff Bakken, to join Earl in the Ratskellar of the Bakken Museum for a conversation on the superior qualities that women have as leaders, or as Earl would say, why women should rule the world. Earl furnished us with reading materials in advance, and as you can imagine, it was a lively conversation. Another poignant conversation I witnessed was between Earl and another contributor to this issue, John Wagner. John, the executive director of the Blood & Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, over a candle-lit dinner asked Earl how he was feeling when the first cardiac pacemaker was placed into the heart of a young child. Earl smiled wryly and responded, “I sure hoped it would work!” John then shared his anxiety and excitement when he sat with a mother at the bedside of a young child who was receiving one of the first bone marrow transplants. Two pioneers telling stories that have transformed healthcare. Very early in the Center’s history, Earl’s office contacted me and said he wanted to meet with me to learn more about the Center. I had no idea what to expect in this encounter and was more than a little anxious. I recall that Earl was less interested in learning about the Center’s plans than in getting to know me as a person. This was the beginning of a deep friendship and mentoring relationship that has spanned more 3

than two decades. As I reflect on our relationship, I am struck by several things. Earl asked many questions, but never told me what he thought we should be doing. He opened the door for me to have experiences, but never attempted to control the outcome of what might happen. He urged me to read widely and glean insights from many different fields. It was not unusual to enter his office and see a large stack of journals with sticky notes protruding, highlighting articles that he wanted to talk about and thought I should read. He was a conscientious curator of all that was happening in the world, and brought my attention to ideas that I should consider. Many times, I had the experience of discovering – months or years later – why he wanted me to learn about something. What deeply touches me as I reflect on this is the way that he invested in my learning and success. He cared about the Center and about me as a person. What is remarkable is the everyday occurrence this was in Earl’s life. He undoubtedly mentored hundreds and hundreds of people throughout his career who, like me, felt his personal touch and care. At the Center’s 15 year anniversary celebration, we gave Earl the first Spirit of Center Award. I was very proud when he noted that at first, the Center was a dream, and had now become a reality. Jean Watson, the founder and director of the Watson Caring Science Institute, Dean Emerita at the University of Colorado, and a dear friend of Earl and the Center, wrote in her reflection how even the name of the Center captures the heart and soul of Earl’s dreams and plans. “The Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing,” she writes, “now has even greater possibilities of serving humankind through visionary dreaming. “ With gratitude and inspiration,

Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN Founder and Director, Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing SUMMER 2017 MANDALA

How One Man Directed His Dreams to Improve the Health and Wellbeing of Millions of People BY OMAR ISHRAK

Omar Ishrak is Chairman and CEO of Medtronic. Since joining Medtronic, Omar has focused the company on three core strategies of Therapy Innovation, Economic Value and Globalization. These three strategies form the basis for Medtronic’s efforts to partner with its customers to drive high quality patient outcomes, expand patient access to healthcare, and lower costs in health care systems around the world. 4

The beginnings of Earl Bakken’s story are practically legend. At the age of 8, Earl saw the movie “Frankenstein,” where the idea of using electricity to restore life captured his imagination. From there, he dabbled in many hobbies that allowed him to channel his seemingly infinite curiosity – creating a kiss-o-meter, trick photography, and a robot that brandished a knife and smoked cigarettes, to name a few of his many inventions. His story could have gone several ways but, early on, a minister suggested to Earl that he should “use science to benefit humankind, not for destructive purposes.” Earl clearly took that advice to heart. Earl became a pioneer of the medtech industry, using electricity to sustain human life in his role as co-founder of Medtronic. When the 1957 Halloween blackout in the Twin Cities resulted in pediatric deaths of “blue babies” due to a power outage, Earl worked with University of Minnesota surgeon C. Walton Lillehei to prevent similar tragedies in the future. Using schematics of a metronome published in Popular Electronics as inspiration, Earl delivered the first wearable, battery powered transistorized cardiac pacemaker just one month later. As Earl has recounted, he was surprised to see that Dr. Lillehei had the “prototype” on a patient the very next day – providing lifesaving cardiac pacing. I didn’t know a lot about Earl Bakken when I was named as CEO of Medtronic in 2011. Almost immediately after accepting the position, one of my most memorable experiences was meeting with Earl, who had invited me to visit him in Hawaii. I wanted to meet him, obviously, but all I was expecting was a dinner, and perhaps spending an evening with him learning more about his views of the company and its history. To my surprise, Earl requested a minimum of eight hours for us to talk during our first meeting. I was a little concerned at first, wondering how we would fill so much time. I just couldn’t imagine what we’d talk about for eight hours. But I was also curious, thinking Earl must have something significant to discuss with me. When I arrived in Hawaii, Earl presented me with a twopage, detailed list of topics he wanted to cover during our time together. We had lunch, talked all afternoon, and then had dinner. We talked for six hours the first day, and continued for several more hours the next morning – well beyond the eight hours initially planned. We discussed so many things, and I wasn’t bored for one single second. It was fascinating to hear the wisdom of his experiences, but equally impressive to learn the thoughts he had – and still has – for the future. He shared his ideas for Medtronic, thoughts on integrative medicine, and his respect for customer feedback, to name a few. He shared his 100-year plan, and it was incredible to see the number of ideas he had that were once merely dreams or a promise, and have now become a standard of care. I concluded that, even if I could apply a small fraction of his wisdom, I would consider myself very fortunate. Of course, we discussed the Medtronic mission, which provides a shared sense of purpose for the company and its employees. Earl spoke of how he came to write the mission when the company was experiencing financial set-backs and was on the verge of bankruptcy. The clarity of thought and foresight in each of the six tenets of the mission are truly extraordinary. Many organizations have a mission statement, but the Medtronic mission is so powerful, and so purposeful, it has stood the test of time for nearly 60 years. Meeting Earl and hearing him speak so passionately about it only 5

deepened my commitment to the mission, which allowed me to speak to it from the heart from my very first day on the job. Since then, over the past six years, I have become convinced that adherence to the mission by the many generations of Medtronic leaders is the underpinning of the company’s success. That trip to Hawaii to meet Earl was the best eight – or ten! – hours I had spent in a long time. I’m honored and fortunate to have spent that time with Earl, learning about his incredible vision and legacy he brings to healthcare, and getting his keen insight into Medtronic. Since then, I have met with Earl several times, and I look forward to every opportunity to see him, and talk about both the past and the future. It is a fitting tribute that the University of Minnesota has named two of its health-focused centers in honor of Earl – the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center and the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. He is an inspiration for so many others to promote health and healing in communities around the world. Last year, I joined Earl and the Medtronic Foundation in Hawaii to honor the Bakken Invitation Award honorees – recipients of medical technology who are recognized for the work they do to improve their communities and other people’s lives. The program is inspired by Earl’s constant quest to improve others’ lives, and to advocate for the health and wellbeing of others. For many years, Earl has asked people who have benefitted from medical technology a simple, but profound, question:

“What will you do with your extra life?” Some recent honorees have used their “extra life” to serve others by raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease treatment options in China, advocating for workforce rights for cancer patients in Italy, and helping close the childhood education achievement gap in Minnesota. During a dinner event recognizing the honorees, Earl addressed guests, and made yet another profound observation:

What if each and every person who has received medical technology to improve or extend their lives went on to do something good on behalf of others? Imagine what we would all accomplish together. We would change the world. For context, in its last fiscal year, Medtronic improved the lives of more than 70 million people through medical technology. The year prior, it was 65 million people. The compounding effect of this impact – even without calculating the exact number of people whose lives were saved or restored over the last 60 years, is enormous – approaching or even surpassing a billion people. Imagine the impact of a billion people doing something good on the behalf of others as a result of their own lives being restored! Some people might suggest that this is too much to ask – that it is simply a dream that people will use their “extra life” to help others. But Earl Bakken has always been a dreamer, and he has a plan. When you look at everything he has accomplished, and everything he continues to pursue, I would never doubt that he – and everyone who seeks to benefit humankind – can accomplish big things, even “impossible” things, together.


Wisdom from Earl

Ready, Fire, Aim Reflecting on his illustrious career, Earl Bakken says that leadership is an active process and that a person is leading only when they are doing. The act of doing provides leaders with experience, which Earl considers to be the ultimate teacher. Effective leaders are well-traveled explorers who learn their lessons by doing, and who share their experiences by acting as coaches, communicating game plans and trusting their players to carry out their game plans. Earl Bakken summarizes his philosophy of leadership when mentoring others in three words: Ready, fire, aim! To get ready, he advises people to develop a personal mission, including a vision, purpose, and values, which helps them create meaningful roles in their lives. He adds that people should believe in their own intuition, visualize the results, and hold the vision until it manifests. He also motivates people to think in unstructured ways and to chase the impossible dream; helping them to break the bonds of excessive caution and crippling self-restraint when attempting to develop new ways of thinking and doing. To go with their hunches no matter how far-fetched, or short of both planning and proof, those hunches might be. “Most of the good things in my life and career have come to pass because somebody was willing to rush in where more careful folks were afraid to tread,” says Earl.

The second step is to get fired up by acting on the vision and values. Earl insists that just taking the first step is a positive move toward the vision because “failure is closer to success than inaction.” To get and stay ahead of the curve, he encourages people to charge fearlessly into new experiences and activities. Aim, the last step, is simply the result of persistence. The old adage, “Try, try again” is the very essence of aim. During the period of trial and error, one becomes broadly knowledgeable but remains focused on the goal. Earl Bakken teaches, “A corrected aim eventually brings the envisioned success.” Earl Bakken never expected any of the wonderful outof-the-box events in his life to happen — certainly not on such a scale. If he had, he might not have proceeded the way he did. He might very logically and responsibly have told himself: “Careful, too much cost, too much distraction — and who will ever use it?” And what a loss that would have been to us all. The world is rapidly changing. The years go by so fast. Don’t hesitate! When in doubt, believe in your intuition and envision your dream. Ready, fire, aim! It is indeed the lesson of Earl’s lifetime.

Courtesy of


Wisdom from Earl

Attributes of a


♦ Out of the Box - Ideas ♦ Ready, Fire, Aim – Business – Take Action

♦ Maintain good, correct Health

♦ Family First ♦ Continual Learning – Reading 178 Journals – “New Scientist”

♦ Duty before Self

♦ Praise – Build them up (Servant Leadership)

♦ Don’t Use “I”

♦ Listen (it’s difficult)

♦ Be an Example ♦ Never take credit for others’ achievements ♦ Loyalty to those that helped you

♦ Uncommon Commitment

♦ Leader – Servant Leadership

♦ Share Problems – all apologize

♦ “Dream On” – Write them down, then make the dream come true ♦ Integrity – Be At All Times Ethical

♦ Lead Upward – Not Down – The Servant

♦ Aloha Spirit – Positive – Not Have a Bad Day – Kindness

♦ Meet with Anyone or Everyone – Open Door Policy

♦ Leading change

♦ Hire into your weak spots ♦ Be yourself ♦ Don’t listen to the Naysayers ♦ Philanthropy outside the company ♦ Love what you are doing ♦ Courage

♦ No “personal” friends – Be friendly to All Courtesy of




Earl Bakken is that person.

Earl Bakken is 93 years old and still going strong. While he has become the bionic man with his implanted devices, Earl’s mind is sharper than ever as he pursues myriad causes on behalf of his lifelong mission to use science to benefit humankind.

When I was chief executive of Medtronic, Earl was always encouraging to me, and filled with many creative ideas. Yet in my thirteen years there, he never second-guessed one of my decisions. For all the employees of Medtronic, he was a true inspiration, never tiring of explaining the Medtronic mission to new employees or in challenging us to reach higher to find new ways of fulfilling the mission. That’s why every CEO of Medtronic, including current CEO Omar Ishrak, has made the mission central to his leadership.

For all of his many contributions to human health throughout the past 70 years, I cannot think of a more worthy person for the Center to be named in honor of than Earl Bakken. Only rarely in life does one have the opportunity to work with a true pioneer, a person who, through his vision, inspiration, courage, and leadership can change the course of human history.

Since his graduation in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1948, Earl has been completely dedicated to the University, and has been a leading supporter of the Center and its founder and director, Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer. With his invention of the first wearable, battery-powered pacemaker, Earl Bakken launched the modern medical-technology industry. Through his leadership, he has enabled tens of millions of people with life-threatening illnesses to be restored to full life and health. Now in his ninth decade, he is pioneering again, creating entirely new forms of healing. Earl is a true visionary, one of the greatest I have ever known. In fact, his ultimate contribution to humanity may be in his lifelong vision of healthcare to treat the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. As is evident throughout his life, Earl Bakken can dream of a future unthinkable to others and then lead people to enable his dream to become a reality. Earl’s dreams are often so advanced that others scoff at them or simply ignore him. They do so at their peril, for Earl has spent a lifetime making his dreams come true.

Penny George, Earl Bakken, and Bill George

For all of his many contributions to human health throughout the past 70 years, I cannot think of a more worthy person for the Center to be named in honor of than Earl Bakken.


He is a man of paradox: an engineer who envisions a world of high-touch integrated healing, a leader who inspires others, but lets them go their own way, an introvert who will happily stand on a convention floor for 12 hours at a time, talking to other dreamers and prospective adopters of his ideas.

It was Earl’s vision that stimulated him to co-found Medtronic in 1949, along with his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie. It was his vision that inspired him to write the now-famous Medtronic mission in 1960, which begins, “To contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life.” It was his vision that led to the creation of Medtronic’s 100-year strategic plan in 1960, as he saw the potential for the implantation of electrical products throughout the human body. It was his vision that inspired him to support Dr. Kreitzer when she created the Center for Spirituality & Healing in 1995. It was his vision to create the Bakken Museum in South Minneapolis to inspire new generations of engineers and inventors with the possibilities of electrical stimulation in the human body.

What are the qualities that have allowed Earl Bakken to accomplish so much in his lifetime? He is a man of paradox: an engineer who envisions a world of “high-touch” integrated healing, a leader who inspires others, but lets them go their own way, an introvert who will happily stand on a convention floor for 12 hours at a time, talking to other dreamers and prospective adopters of his ideas. Earl has deep technical knowledge, but so do many other engineers who never reach beyond the confines of their laboratories. He has vision, but so do many others whose ideas never come to fruition. He has leadership skill, but the world is filled with leaders who never go beyond a single major accomplishment. What makes Earl unique is his soul. Earl’s vision to use science to benefit humankind began with an idea he received from his pastor in his early teenage years and from which he has never deviated. He has a deep sense of spiritual calling, and an understanding of his purpose on this earth.

It was his vision that led to the founding of the North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) in 1996, which specializes in integrative medicine – the blending of the best of Western and Eastern medicine and complementary modalities.

More than any person I have ever met, Earl is totally devoted to his calling. Nothing can cause him to deviate or give up. Money, fame, glory — ­­ Earl has all of these, but none is really important to him. He conveys his mission to everyone he meets, and he openly, yet modestly, asks them to join him on his journey.

It was his vision that saw the brain-heart connection, leading to academic research centers at Cleveland Clinic and NHCH exploring the emerging new area.

Earl is the epitome of the mission of the Center for Spirituality & Healing – and entirely worthy of this naming honor.

Bill George is a Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic, and author of Discover Your True North.



Bakken Provides President of Gustavus Adolphus College

Inspiration and Innovation

BY REBECCA BERGMAN I had the great privilege of knowing and working with Earl Bakken for most of my 26-year career in research and development at Medtronic. He has been an inspiration to me and to many others as a leader, an innovator, and a possibility thinker. It is the combination of these qualities that, for me, has always set Earl apart from others. Focused and fully mission driven, he has a quiet yet forceful way of pushing people to stretch their capabilities and reach across traditional boundaries. In all aspects of his life and work, he has encouraged others to give their utmost in pursuit of ambitious goals that will bring meaningful benefits to people and communities. It is most fitting that he is being honored with name recognition at the University of Minnesota for his work in two areas that are completely aligned with his deepest passions – the Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Medical Devices Center. Earl has often described himself as a dreamer, and what an accurate description this is for him. He naturally understands the importance of looking to the future and wondering what might be possible. For him, writing a 100-year plan seemed quite normal, yet I have never known anyone else to tackle long-term thinking of this magnitude. Whether or not all the details are eventually shown to be true, such an exercise forces people to think creatively and to imagine how technological advances might impact our world. It stimulates people to stretch beyond traditional trajectories and to consider how significant discoveries might occur at the intersections between disciplines. Strategic thinking at this level is natural for Earl, and he routinely encourages people to live in the world of possibilities, to go beyond today’s constraints and ponder novel solutions to problems, and to conceive of new and unobvious questions to investigate. Earl’s training as an engineer has stayed with him throughout his life. From the early days of development of the pacemaker to the present, he has been a builder and a hands-on developer of ideas. He is not content with thought experiments, but consistently seeks ways to get started in reducing a concept to practice. At the same time, he has uncommon patience, knowing that big innovations often take time and need the right people, resources, and circumstances to be successful. Earl’s well-known mantra of “Ready, Fire, Aim” — combined with his unrelenting insistence on quality — demonstrates both his conviction that we must move forward and his equally strong belief in the pursuit of excellence. Earl understands the importance of ideas, and he pursues knowledge across multiple disciplines. I know this to be true. It would not be unusual for me to receive an article from Earl from one of the hundreds of journals that he subscribed to (and read!) On the article would be a handwritten note from Earl that said something like, “You might find this to be interesting.”

The article might relate to technology innovations, a medical breakthrough, the importance of inspiring young people to pursue careers in science or engineering, or effective leadership qualities and practices. Earl kept up with the leading edge of both mainstream and emerging fields of study, and he made a point of provoking others to do the same. An anecdote comes to mind that I believe is illustrative of Earl’s love of life and his belief in giving back to people and society. I was with Earl and several others in his Medtronic office and someone posed the question, “What was your favorite decade of life?” Earl was in his 80s at the time, and he thought for a few seconds and, in his typical unassuming way, he answered, “Every decade has been my favorite, including this one.” I hope that we all have such a positive outlook on life and on our ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the people and communities around us.

Earl Bakken – always dreaming, always innovating, always encouraging others to give their best. This is the everyday story of an extraordinary leader who has made a difference in so many ways with so many people. Thank you, Earl!

Rebecca M. Bergman officially began her duties as the 17th President of Gustavus Adolphus College on July 1, 2014. Bergman is the first woman in the 152-year history of the College to be named president. Bergman, who served on the College’s Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2014, spent the past 26 years at Medtronic, Inc., including the last 14 years as a senior executive. Her most recent position was Vice President of Research, Technology, and Therapy Delivery Systems for the company’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management (CRDM) business, where she led a research and development team of scientists and engineers.



John E. Wagner, MD, is the Executive Medical Director, Blood & Marrow Transplant Program, at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, and Professor in the Department of Pediatrics.

Every now and then, a chance meeting or an unexpected phone call can have a profound effect. One such event happened to me three years ago. It was a phone call from Earl Bakken’s staff telling me that they had arranged a 30-minute in-person meeting. That was great except for the fact that I was in Atlanta and Earl was in Kona, Hawaii, and the date of the meeting was a week away – December 12, 2013 at 11:30am. As luck would have it, my last presentation at a trade meeting in Atlanta left me just enough time to catch a flight to LA where I met my wife who flew in separately from Minneapolis. After a five-hour flight from LA to Kona, we landed at dusk. The air was thick and warm, a scent of flowers was in the air, and the eight mile stretch between the airport and hotel was totally pitch black. Little did we know that just beyond the beam of light from our rental car, it was more a lunar landscape than any place we had ever seen on Earth.

Then, we went on the Bakken compound grand tour. Along the way, we spoke of his fascination with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – A Modern Prometheus, and the reasons for the many trophy-filled rooms and walls covered with accolades from across the globe. I was amazed by his career, which was filled with game-changing inventions, and his openness to think beyond the physical and incorporate mindfulness and spiritual dimensions. At the end, as we were about to leave, Earl turned and asked me if I’d like to come to his 90th birthday party. I asked ‘when is it?’ Three weeks later I joined his family and many friends from around the world - present on-site or online - including some of his earliest patients.

Six months later, I sent Earl a videoclip that arrived on Father’s Day 2014. There were two parts – first, The next morning precisely at 11 am, we there was one of me with started our trek toward the Bakken two of my patients who home – actually more an off-grid wanted to tell Earl what I was amazed by his career, compound prepared for rogue research (that he helped fund) which was filled with game-changing tsunamis or perhaps a nuclear meant to them. The first was inventions and his openness attack. Directions were precise – to a 20-year-old who exquisitely first locate a certain marker on expressed how his life was think beyond the physical and the road, make a right turn on changed – how research gave incorporate mindfulness and a gravel road, open and close him hope and a better chance; spiritual dimensions. gates, and then a left before the he was patient 13 on the trial. Bakken home. Fortunately, we The second was a younger child –John Wagner had the good fortune to follow whose mother tearfully watched Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer, a longtime friend her little girl leave her hospital and frequent visitor to the Bakkens. room for the first time in months. She was patient 20. At the end of the As you might expect, Earl was at his desk video, both expressed how much Earl meant bearing a pile of books and a massive computer to them. They were among Earl’s very long list console, reporting seismic activity – of course. After of ‘living’ trophies and accolades. The second part was brief introductions, I jumped in, remembering I had only me at the Bakken Museum leafing through Shelley’s second 30 minutes to tell him about the work I was doing – the edition of Frankenstein. You have to understand that I had science of transplant medicine – and the impact of that previously sent him a ornate reproduction of the novel work on adults and children with leukemia. I wanted to along with passages tagged to highlight key points of the thank him for trusting in a small army of people I worked story, explaining in detail how Mary was warning scientists with that he had never met. He listened for a bit, then the on the risks of unbridled science. His response was “Thank topic turned to his experiences and how my work was not you for the book and interpretations. By the way, I have an too unlike his in the early days. He spoke about leadership original.” While I didn’t see that coming, I realized quickly skills and the drama of staff meetings in the early Medtonic that Earl’s dedication and caring inspired me – like so days. We spoke about patients identified by their place in many others – to push the limit, and his childhood sense of a treatment. He told me what he was proud of and what he wonder at the age of 90 simply took my breath away. would have done differently. We laughed. I smiled realizing that there were some similarities to me, albeit on a very different scale.



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Dreamed of expanding Medtronic to the European market.

Dreamed of interviews with Pioneers in Pacing. The Bakken Museum has the rare collection of videos.

Dreamed of an organization called Medical Alley.

Dreamed of the Bakken Museum and Library Educating children in science and engineering - History of electricity from the year 1200 A.D. to today.

Dreamed up the Archaeus Project.

Dreamed of the Continuum Project study of consciousness.


gress; ND = Not Done Dreamed of a medallion for Medtronic employees.

Dreamed of annual Holiday Program that includes patients with Medtronic products.

Dreamed of producing a record by the Betty Rydell Trio, “Setting the Place at Paul’s Place.” Produced by EEB Inc.

Dreamed of Radio Museum - The Pavek, items from the turn of the century Educating children in electronics.

Dreamed of The Bakken Concept for an Innovative Method of Structuring and Financing a Medical Center - 5 Twin Cities hospitals.

Dreamed of heart brain medicine - whole new field of medicine - and hosted conference in Florida.

= Done

= Done and still going

= In progress

= Not done


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DS Dreamed of Heart-Brain 13 center at North Hawaii Community Hospital

Dreamed of Living On and Giving On with one’s Extra Life. MDT Philanthropy launches Bakken Invitation.

Ready Fire Aim

= Done

Dreamed of Manifesto for Hawaii Island. End dependence on oil for power, more Science and Tech education, and


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Heart b Brain Dreamed of Code LavenderMedicine at NHCH and around the world.

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= Not done


LEADERSHIP and Inspiration BY KENNETH RIFF, MD Most people in the Twin Cities have heard of Earl Bakken. He is known as the inventor of the external wearable pacemaker, which ignited the global medical technology industry. He is celebrated as the co-founder of Medtronic, one of the state’s great companies and a perennial listing on Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies.” His name is also recognized for his eponymous “Museum of Electricity in Life” in an elegant building on the shores of Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska. Fewer know that after retiring to the Big Island of Hawaii in 1996, he opened the world’s first hospital focused on blended medicine, combining high-tech and high-touch in a healing environment. Or that in 2005, consistent with his belief that medicine needs to “put the body together again,” he started the world’s first research institute focused on heart-brain interactions, the Earl and Doris Bakken Heart Brain Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Fewer yet know that, accompanied by the Prince of Holland, he and several physicians recorded the first electrocardiogram of a humpback whale. While all of this is remarkable, for those of us fortunate enough to know Earl, these heady accomplishments don’t actually address much of what makes Earl such a fascinating and compelling figure. Knowing Earl as a person makes clear why he was able to accomplish so much in his life, and why he is revered by virtually everyone who knows him or has worked with him. I first met Earl in 1988, just a few weeks after I started working as an engineer at Medtronic. I was having lunch in the employee cafeteria with one of the other engineers in my group when an older man came up with a tray. My colleague looked up and said, “Well hello Earl. Have a seat.” It took me a moment to register that we had just been joined by the company founder, an icon in the industry, consort of royalty, who proceeded to quiz us on what our newest and most exciting projects were. I don’t know what amazed me more: that I had just had lunch with the Chairman Emeritus, or that employees knew him as “Earl.” I subsequently learned that this was one of Earl’s most successful management techniques: Management by Walking Around. He would wander through the labs and sit down with the engineers and scientists to learn what they were doing and to offer suggestions, frequently to their managers’ dismay. The engineers loved it and would talk about their sessions with Earl for years after they occurred.

Kenneth M. Riff MD is a semi-retired internist and previously held a number of executive positions at Medtronic Inc from 1988 through 2014. He is the course director for “Integrative Healing in Hawaii,” a course offered through the Center since 2005.

I got to know Earl better as time went on. I saw him again a few months later at my “Mission and Medallion Ceremony”- the gathering for all new Medtronic employees in which Earl described the history of the company and, more importantly, its culture and mission. Each of us left with a handshake, a Medtronic medallion, and a deep commitment to uphold the company’s values. Even today, there are very few desks at Medtronic that don’t have that medallion displayed prominently and proudly. Years later, after Earl moved to Hawaii, he continued his open door policy by offering an invitation to any Medtronic employee, retiree, or customer who happened to be visiting Hawaii to stop by his house, visit, and tour the hospital — an invitation that still stands, and has been acted upon by hundreds — if not thousands — of people. And yes, everyone calls him Earl.


I believe that, other than co-founding the company, Earl’s greatest achievement was creating and sustaining Medtronic’s mission. The mission, with its admonitions to: A) contribute to human welfare … alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life; B) … strive without reserve for the greatest possible reliability and quality in our products, and to be recognized as a company of dedication, honesty, integrity, and service; and C) to recognize the personal worth of employees has inspired employees (and customers) for more than half a century.

Even now, in his 90’s, Earl has not stopped working to make the world a better place. Several years ago, he started the “Live On, Give On” program to encourage people who had received a medical device and received “extra life” to use that extra life for a good cause. As described in the program, “The Bakken Invitation Award recognizes and connects people who, with the help of medical technology, have overcome health challenges, earned extra life, and used that time to make a difference in communities worldwide.”

Earl went on to make these words real. He has written that a leader is leading when he is doing, and Earl never stopped doing. He ensured that these values endured through activities like the annual holiday party, which featured six patients, frequently children, who had been helped by Medtronic products the previous year, telling their stories to a packed auditorium of employees. In those moments the reality of what we were doing became crystal clear, the tears flowed, our hearts expanded, and we all walked out with a renewed sense of purpose for what we were accomplishing. There’s no question that those holiday parties were spiritual experiences that brought out the best in all of us.

Since 2005, Earl has supported and participated in the Center for Spirituality & Healing course “Integrative Healing in Hawaii” which I teach to six fourth-year University of Minnesota medical students. These students spend three weeks on the Big Island learning from a community of integrative healers with the goal of learning how to develop a blended treatment plan using multiple healing traditions. Earl is one of the highest rated faculty members; his evaluations are unanimously “outstanding,” and the comments are similar to this from one of this year’s students: “Meeting Dr. Bakken was inspirational. What a truly incredible, generous person.” I believe that for our students, who are living in a time of malleable ethics and shifting values, Earl inspires with his integrity, generosity, view of healing as a noble art, desire to teach and pass along his wisdom, and his genuine desire to make the world a better place.

I learned that Medtronic’s mission was a reflection of Earl’s own values: his absolute integrity, his conviction that technology could make the world a better place, the importance of servant leadership, and his faith in employees. He purposefully and carefully created a culture that would inspire: his dogged, relentless optimism, his propensity for action memorialized in his famous “Ready, Fire, Aim” mantra, and his belief that all of us should always be looking for ways to contribute and to make things better.

For the rest of us, Earl’s steadfastness and moral core have provided us with a robust foundation on which to build our own value systems and to learn how to lead and inspire as he has. I am thrilled that his name will grace the Center for Spirituality & Healing, and that his life will inspire even more people as they get to know this remarkable man.

“Meeting Dr. Bakken was inspirational. What a truly incredible, generous person.” -Medical Student




The Ultimate Dreamer of Visions for Humanity BY JEAN WATSON, PHD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN It makes my heart smile to see Earl’s dreaming on legacy live on to serve the mission and vision of the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. Naming the Center in honor of Earl is an assurance that his dream for serving humanity, healing our world, and creating a better future will live on, and will also contribute to Earl’s 100 year plan. Earl’s 100 year plan includes serving humanity by contributing to human welfare through application of biomedical advances which alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life. These dreams are congruent with the lifeline of Earl’s accomplishments, the legacy of Medtronic, the goals of the Center, and have inspired and informed my experiences and connections with Earl for nearly 35 years. Dr. Gerald Rainer, a cardiac surgeon in Denver, who was a member of my Visiting Board, arranged my first introduction to Earl. At the time, I was Dean of Nursing and had founded the Center for Human Caring at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. That first meeting was in 1984 over an early morning breakfast at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. Earl listened attentively as I described the goals I had for nursing and human caring; however, while expressing his interest and support, he kindly explained that he served on boards only in Minnesota. To my delight, however, because of the unique nature of the focus on human caring, healing, and health we were advancing at the Center for Human Caring, by the end of the breakfast meeting, he had agreed to serve on my board. (Even to his surprise, he said!) Once Earl agreed to serve on my board, he never missed a meeting and became a great advocate and supporter of the caring science focus, moving toward healing and wholeness beyond conventional medicine. Since that first meeting, I have remained connected with Earl and with his visionary projects in Hawaii. For example, his dream for the North Hawaii Community Hospital was to create a hospital for the 21st Century. His vision was to bring together the finest of western medicine and Native Hawaiian Healing Traditions – from engaging the Hawaiian healer Papa Henry, to incorporating architectural design and construction of the hospital in meaningful ways that were evident in the placement of each patient’s room. Plants and nature were included in all designs, and the presence of caring-healing modalities were visible in the midst of modern medical dominance.

We who know Earl understand that his journey toward bettering humanity and our planet has been evident across his lifetime, with dreams of extending life and manifesting what seemed like miracles, such as the invention of the pacemaker, and further imagining and dreaming of what might yet be. Earl gave voice to “Blended Medicine,” which became a historic template, and a part of Healing Island Projects such as, “Talk Story,” “Earl’s Garage,” “TuTu’s House,” and Five Mountain Projects including the Kohala Center, the Heart Brain Institute, “Code Lavender” and many other transformative global healing practices. All of these – and Earl’s many other manifested dreams – converge with his heart energy living on through the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. Even the name of the Center captures the heart and soul of Earl’s dreams and plans, to be lived on and dreamt onward into the future, with even greater possibilities of serving humankind through his visionary dreaming. While perhaps Earl is most known, revered, honored, and beloved for co-founding of Medtronic and the development of the first pacemaker, his heart energy vibrates onward into new dreams and new horizons of possibilities not yet dreamt.


One of my precious moments with Earl was in July 2008 at the Mauna Lani Resort, when the Watson Caring Science Institute and I awarded Earl with the heart-centered “Visionary Caring Science Award for Transforming Nursing and Healthcare.” To open the ceremony, I symbolically and literally embraced Earl and the circle of all present, by attuning the heart vibrations of an ancient singing bowl with his aloha love, which resonated as a one heart moment. I presented this singing bowl to Earl at the end of this ceremony. In 2013, I received the following letter from Earl, which I have framed in my office.

August 2, 2013 Aloha Jean, Aloha from Hawaii! I hope this greeting finds you doing well. Recently I took the “singing bowl” and the jade pendant you gave me some years ago, out of my ‘award case’ in our home. I now have the bowl in my office, and am wearing the jade pendant daily. The “singing bowl” initiates my new day in the office everyday, and I close out my day with it. It resonates with such calming powers and is so beautiful sitting on my desk – I thank you once again for such an incredible gift. The jade pendant has such powerful meaning to it. As I edge toward my 90 years of age, it brings me an inner confidence and peace. I thank you for these incredibly meaningful gifts. Our friendship is a treasure in my life. Hope to see you soon. Dreaming on, Earl Bakken

This letter is a treasure indeed. It brings tears of joy and singing to my heart to it read again. When I last visited Earl in 2016, he shared how he and his nurse have learned to make the bowl sing so that he may experience the singing heart vibration at bedtime. We who know Earl also know that Earl’s aloha heart resonates and reverberates through time, space, physicality, and indeed will live on through the Center for Spirituality & Healing.

Jean Watson, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN (Living Legend AAN), is Founder and Director of the Watson Caring Science Institute, and Distinguished Professor and Dean Emerita at the University of Colorado Denver. Learn more about Jean at

This naming of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota becomes Earl’s Living Aloha Legacy that helps to assure ‘dreaming on’ becomes even more embedded in spirit and matter of eternity. Bowing with Awe and Aloha,



Wisdom from Earl

10 Points Related to



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3 1

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“20% science, 80% spirituality” -Papa Henry Auwae

Integrated Medicine 1. Heart problems can often be caused by other parts of the body or by things outside of the body. 2. The Mind is not only in the Brain. The Mind is throughout the whole body, external to the body, and in the Cosmos. 2.5 Mind = Soul 3. We must consider the impact of Chronobiology on the Heart-Brain functioning together. The Sun and the Moon have great impact on the function of parts of our body, including the Heart and Brain. 4. Treat people with “Blended Medicine” – high tech, high touch, and healing environment. All of these are integral parts of healing. 5. Treat people complete as a whole – body, mind, spirit, nature, and community. Organs cannot exist alone. Important role of Naturopathic, Homeopathic, Chiropractic, Ho‘oponopono – Blended Medicine. And the use of implanted devices. 5.5 Consciousness studies, kinesiology, chiropractic.

6. The Heart is a sensor organ and tells much of the body how to operate. We have memory tissue in the Brain, Heart, and Gut. Major decisions need to be made in the Gut. 7. Multiple connections exist between Brain & Heart with at least 6 kinds of signals: electrical, chemical, hormonal, muscular, ballistic, energy. 8. The power of the Spiritual component. High tech is 20% - high touch and healing environment are 80%. Most treatment centers leave out the 80%! 9. Importance of mind-related medicine: relationships, stress, compassion, caring, love, attitude, hate, depression, belief, comedy, humor. 10. Important role of energy medicine: Reiki, Aromatherapy, Chi Gong, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Adjusting Chakras, Guided Imagery, Massage, Tai Chi, Yoga, Healing Touch, Prayer, Music, especially Harp, Hula, Heart Math, Dogs, and Aloha. Courtesy of 18

A Story Still Being Written BY DIANNE LEV

The love of stories is universal – a love story, a success story. They are, as Adam Gopnik said in a May 2012 article in The New Yorker, “the currency of life.” The story that leads to this spring’s decision by the University of Minnesota Regents to name the Center for Spirituality & Healing in honor of Earl Bakken is a great one. Hundreds of moments give it substance and texture; Earl and Center Director, Mary Jo Kreitzer, are the main characters. For ten years, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing their remarkable interactions. My role is the narrator because I serve as the Center’s director of development. In our world, stewardship takes on many forms, from small tasks to large projects. Marking this milestone, I’d like to share a few of many connecting points between Earl and Mary Jo, organized into what I will call, ‘Bakkenisms.’

Bakkenism #1: Infuse a set of meetings with intention and they become the time-honored ritual of ‘holding court.’ Early in my tenure, Earl traveled from his home in Hawaii to Minnesota each summer to see family and attend the Minnesota State Fair. He devoted two days at the University, and the Center’s library was his base. Prior to a visit, Earl’s assistant would call to arrange dates and identify people who Earl wanted to see. Conversation first took place with Mary Jo. In the first year, I prepared an agenda, which Mary Jo graciously set aside. “None needed,” she smiled. I watched how their gracious exchange took place precisely because it was unstructured. After Mary Jo, Earl greeted deans, faculty, and community leaders. Sitting off to the side, I learned about breakthrough research or new technology. I kept healthy food and tea flowing, yet for all, the real nourishment was learning with Earl. It was my privilege to staff these courts for several more years. Earl no longer travels to Minnesota, yet I’m quite certain that they are held regularly in Hawaii!

Bakkenism #2: Time spent mentoring students is a top priority—they are architects for our future. I’m not sure whether Earl modeled this practice and Mary Jo embraced it, or if they both simply knew this tenet was essential. I see it daily in Mary Jo’s choices—students come first when setting the schedule, and guiding students to become leaders in integrative health and wellbeing is Job 1. Every January, students from the School of Nursing visit Earl, brought to the Big Island by Mary Jo and faculty, to learn integrative healing practices in one of the world’s optimal healing environments. Every February, a cohort of medical students, on a threeweek rotation coordinated by the Center, spend time with Earl in Hawaii as they learn about and experience indigenous healing from local practitioners. Both groups return inspired, ready to infuse their work in healthcare with Earl’s vision and message. One favorite memory was the summer when Earl asked to visit students in Dr. Paul Iaizzo’s Visible Heart Laboratory. We all headed into the basement of the Mayo Memorial Building. Human hearts were displayed in jars on shelves; high-tech equipment was in use. Earl beamed because this was the same lab space where, in 1958, he collaborated with Dr. C. Walton Lillihei to surgically implant the first, portable, batterypowered pacemaker.


Bakkenism #3: Achievements, insights, and impact should be communicated in writing, via website, or at a community celebration. Two times a year, the Center publishes Mandala, and Earl is its biggest fan. One month before publication, Mary Jo receives an email from Earl’s staff: when can he expect the next edition? Each issue’s print count includes one box for Earl, sent to him so he can be one of the first to read the magazine cover to cover. He loves to share Mandala with everyone he knows on the Big Island, as well as visitors from the mainland. As an example of communicating via event, one memory stands out. Marking the Center’s 15th anniversary, Mary Jo presented Earl with the inaugural “Spirit of the Center” award. Sharing the moment were Earl’s family. University dignitaries, and Center faculty and students.

Bakkenism #4: Ready, Fire, Aim. You likely recognize this phrase from Mary Jo’s writings or know of its influence on our work. Those words have had a powerful impact on the Center’s culture. They reside at the heart and soul of innovation. Originated by Earl, the phrase accurately describes Mary Jo’s leadership style. She sees a new direction or opportunity, gets ready by sharing insights with the staff, then fires off the vision in a keynote address at an international symposium. Next, Center faculty and staff take aim, shaping what usually becomes a well-timed, right-on-the-mark strategy. Earl and Mary Jo have both advanced breakthroughs with this approach—not waiting too long. It’s one that more organizations and institutions need to embrace. Literally dozens of moments comprise the Earl-Mary Jo story. His presence has been integral to the Center since its inception, and because of Earl, we are a more nimble, forward-thinking team, and our work supports people and communities to live with greater wellbeing. Since the Regents’ decision, it has been so fun to see the new logo in print and new signage hanging in our hallway. Especially rewarding has been sharing the news with people who have known Earl and the Center, and now they get to connect the two. “What great news,” says longtime friend and supporter Gary Smaby. “I was hoping that was the secret you were holding. Great tribute to Earl, and a well-deserved (and well-earned) investment in sustainability for the Center.”

The naming of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing is the culmination of a remarkable story that is still being written. Mary Jo and all who are affiliated with the Center now begin a new chapter, advancing with purpose and confidence that our boldness can help people flourish. With Bakkenisms informing our priorities and practices, we will carry Earl’s story of inspiration and innovation into the future.

SUMMER 2017 MANDALA Mayo Memorial Building MMC #505 420 Delaware St. S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455


Earl E. Bakken Life Timeline (Abbreviated) 1924 - 1973 Earl Elmer Bakken born to Florence and Osval Bakken on January 10, 1924. Age 8: Inspired by the 1931 movie Frankenstein, and the idea of life restoration by electricity. Builds a five-foot-tall robot that blinked its eyes, brandished a knife, talked (via a remote-controlled speaker), and puffed on hand-rolled cigarettes. Told by minister to “use science to benefit humankind, not for destructive purposes.” Age 25: April 29, 1949, Earl Bakken and Palmer Hermundslie form partnership to service medical electronic equipment. Company is called “Medtronic.” First month’s income is eight dollars. Dr. C. Walton Lillehei at the University of Minnesota Hospital begins operating on “blue babies” born with a heart defect causing poor circulation that gives a bluish tint to the skin. Composes Medtronic Mission Statement. Envisions new products using electricity for all parts of the body.

1974 - 1989 Age 50: Medtronic’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Company markets directly in more than seventy countries.

1990 - 2010 Begins involvement with the creation of North Hawaii Community Hospital and Friends of the Future.

Age 51: Founds The Bakken Museum.

Founds Five Mountains Hawaii organization for community health improvement on Hawaii Island.

Receives the Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota.

Governor Benjamin Cayetano proclaims November 28, 1997, “Earl and Doris Bakken Day” in Hawaii.

Helps champion and form Minnesota’s Medical Alley (now called LifeScience Alley).

Named Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year, National Philanthropy Society, Aloha (Hawaii) Chapter.

Helps form the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting.

Receives Kakoo ia Kalanianaole Award, Outstanding Non-Hawaiian for Service to the Hawaiian Community, Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.

Receives honorary Doctor of Science degrees, Tulane University and the University of Minnesota. Age 65: Retires from Medtronic January 10, 1989, his birthday. Participates in an expedition to Baja, California, to record the electrocardiogram of the California gray whale. Age 65: Moves to a dreamt-of destination at Kiholo Bay on Hawaii Island.

Receives Visionary Caring Science Award, Watson Science Institute. Receives Contribution to Reforming American Healthcare Through Innovative Thinking and a Personal Desire to Improve. Receives the first Spirit of the Center Award, University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality & Healing.

2011 - Present Members of the original Medtronic Garage Gang film oral history interviews at Medtronic World Headquarters. Receives fifth annual Alumni of Distinction Award from his alma mater, Columbia Heights High School. Celebrates The Bakken Invitation Live On, Give On honorees, in Hawaii. For several years Earl has been asking people who receive "extra life" from their medical devices or therapies, "What are you going to do with your extra life in service to others and the world?" Inspired by his wisdom, Medtronic Philanthropy launched a program in 2013 - The Bakken Invitation - to honor people who are extraordinary examples of Living On and Giving On. Celebrates ninetieth birthday in Hawaii with family and friends from around the world. Inducted as a Knight of Grace by the Order of St. John. Completes new solar array for Kihola home in Hawaii. Completes second book, Dreaming On With Earl Bakken.

To see the complete version of Earl’s Life Timeline, please visit his website at

Mandala Summer 2017: Live on, Give On, Dream On  

Mandala, a biannual publication, is produced by the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. Detailed inf...

Mandala Summer 2017: Live on, Give On, Dream On  

Mandala, a biannual publication, is produced by the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. Detailed inf...