About President Kaler
Since taking office in 2011, President Eric Kaler has focused on core priorities: academic excellence, access for qualified students, stewardship of tuition and public dollars, a world-class research enterprise that aligns with the needs of the state of Minnesota and its industries, and a deep commitment to public engagement and outreach, locally and globally.
His personal commitment to excellence was rewarded in April 2014, when he was named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. He was elected in two categories: for his work as a chemical engineer and as a higher education administrator.
In 2014, Kaler and the University’s Twin Cities campus community were engaged in a consultative and highly inclusive strategic planning process that calls for a rejection of complacency, a deep culture change, and curriculum and research approaches to the state’s, nation’s, and world’s “grand challenges.” That plan is now in its implementation stage.
During the 2012-13 academic year, and in his first biennial budget request to the Minnesota Legislature, Kaler forged a partnership with the State of Minnesota by achieving a tuition freeze for Minnesota resident undergraduates.
He also achieved $35.8 million in research investments from the state. In an initiative called MnDRIVE—the Minnesota Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy program—research emphasis matches some of the University’s research and discovery strengths with the state’s most pressing needs and key industries.
In 2010, Kaler was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano named him to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, on which he continues to serve. In 2013, he was named a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Kaler received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University in 1982. He went on to become one of the nation’s foremost experts on “complex fluids,” which have applications in drug delivery, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.
Before coming to the U, Kaler served from 2007 to 2011 as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. Previously, he was dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering. He also taught at the University of Washington. He received his undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1978.
Kaler and his wife, Karen, have two adult sons.