President Kaler's remarks at the inauguration of University of Minnesota Morris Chancellor Michelle Behr

Friday, September 29, 2017

Good afternoon everyone. 

Regents Beeson, Hsu, Johnson and Omari, thank you for joining Chair McMillan and me here today. Chancellor Holz-Clause of our Crookston campus, Interim Chancellor Carrell of our Rochester campus, and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Ervin from our Duluth campus, thank you for sharing this moment with our colleague. This truly is a University of Minnesota system-wide moment for us all to celebrate.

And warm greetings to Morris Chancellor Emeritus David Johnson. Also, great to see friends of the University, Chair of the House Higher Education Committee Representative Representative Bud Nornes and also Representative Jeff Backer. And a warm welcome to U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson. Other distinguished guests from around the University, the state and the nation, and friends from our wonderful Morris community …

It’s my pleasure to join all of you this afternoon to officially install the University of Minnesota Morris’s sixth Chancellor, Dr. Michelle Behr. On a campus with a history and culture that embraces diversity and inclusion, Dr. Behr brings an extraordinary record and personal background to support and advance the Morris tradition. A global citizen, her father was an immigrant from Germany, her mother the daughter of immigrants from Eastern Europe, and Michelle has been a three-time Fulbright Scholar, a true student of international affairs and understanding.

An academician of great range, she has authored and co-authored publications and presentations on prehistoric archaeology, national identity and immigration in Central Europe, and leadership in American higher education. With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology and a Ph.D. in geography, she is a champion of the liberal arts. And she has built an impressive résumé that has led her to this place, to this position, to this day, and, thankfully, to us.

She came from the faculty ranks. To become a visiting scholar at the Center for the Studies in Higher Education at University of California Berkeley. And then to rise on the administrative ladder – department chair, associate dean, provost – and now Chancellor.

Clearly, she is eminently prepared and uncommonly ready for the humbling, but energizing, challenge to lead the University of Minnesota Morris into its next stage of growth, excellence and adventure.
I have no doubt that Dr. Behr’s thoughtful, strategic and collaborative approach is the perfect fit for the University of Minnesota Morris.

And that’s why, Michelle, I very much look forward to continuing our work together to promote and advance the unique value and strengths of Morris to our University of Minnesota system, to our students, faculty and staff, to the State of Minnesota, and the Morris community.

With that, I would now like to invite Dr. Michelle Behr to come forward. It is my pleasure to formally install you as Chancellor: By the powers vested in me as the President of the University of Minnesota, I hereby declare you, Michelle Behr, Chancellor of the University of Minnesota Morris, with all its rights, privileges, and responsibilities.

On behalf of Chair David McMillan, the Board of Regents, and the entire University of Minnesota community, it is my pleasure to present to you Michelle Behr, the sixth Chancellor of the University of Minnesota Morris.