President's end-of-year message to faculty and staff

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

As the academic year comes to a close, I want to thank you for your great work and your commitment to our students and our mission. When I became President last July, one of my goals was to listen closely to you and other key stakeholders across the University of Minnesota's campuses and across the state, and to learn. Believe me, I have learned a lot.

Today, in my report to the Board of Regents, I will highlight where I've been and how I've been spending my time over the year.

Today we are also presenting to the Board my recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget. This budget represents my priorities: keep tuition as low as possible and boost financial aid for our students; and keep administrative costs low as we strategically invest in our outstanding faculty and staff so we can maintain our academic excellence.

Meanwhile, the Legislature this week passed a bonding bill that provides the University with $64.1 million in critical infrastructure funding. Governor Dayton is expected to sign it. I am especially grateful to him and the legislators on both sides of the aisle who went to bat for us. Thank you to all of you who called or wrote to your representatives, urging them to support the U. Your voices made a difference at the Capitol.

Finally, it's been an exciting Year One for me as president, and it's an important year for all of us as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act. If you missed it, we hosted a "Great Conversation" with Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor last week about the evolving nature of the Morrill Act, our Twin Cities campus's role in its urban setting, and what our land-grant legacy means statewide in the 21st century.

Together, we are all moving our great University of Minnesota forward. Thank you for all you do for the University, for our students, and for our mission. Have a wonderful and productive summer.


Eric W. Kaler