Speeches and Spotlights
Our spectacular University of Minnesota students returned to campus this week, and that wonderful new semester energy is upon us. It’s time for the students to get down to serious business. But I want you to know that, in preparation for the start of the academic year, University leaders have been hard at work for months on many important matters.
Good morning! This IS the beginning—the starting line for you, the Class of 2016.
I’m very happy to share this moment with you. I am also pleased to have so many of our Regents here today, including Chair Linda Cohen and Vice-Chair David Larson and Regents Rick Beeson, Tom Devine, and Dean Johnson. Welcome to our deans, to our faculty, and to our staff. And welcome to that beautiful girl you saw in the video, my wife, Karen Kaler.
Dear University of Minnesota Alumni,
The University of Minnesota is a truly remarkable global university, exceptional beyond what many alumni and citizens realize, and far better than its reputation. From discovering cures and treatments for diseases, to fighting invasive species in Minnesota’s waters, to protecting the nation’s and the world’s food supplies, to working on sustainable energy solutions, our faculty, researchers, students and alumni tackle the state’s—and the world’s—most pressing problems every day.
President Eric Kaler's statement about the passing of Stanley Crooks, Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
It was with deep sadness that the University of Minnesota community learned of the passing of Chairman Stanley Crooks on Saturday. Chairman Crooks was a great leader and a special friend of the University. Our partnership with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which my predecessor President Robert Bruininks established and I am committed to maintaining, is one enduring example of Chairman Crooks’ enormous statewide and national legacy.
I had the great honor and pleasure of meeting with Chairman Crooks last June. It was a warm and productive meeting. He was a gracious host. It is a meeting I will always cherish.
As you know, this spring I asked 20 deans on the Twin Cities campus and the chancellors to review their academic centers and institutes. This review is consistent with my goals for Operational Excellence, a long-term commitment to reduce administrative costs and increase efficiency to free up resources that can be reallocated toward the University's core teaching, research, and public service mission.
I am pleased to provide you with a report of the first phase of this review.
Thank you very much. Greetings to area legislators and other elected officials. Two of my bosses from our Board of Regents—Regent Patty Simmons of Rochester and Regent Rick Beeson of St. Paul—are here. Please welcome them. And greetings to my good friend and colleague Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle. Steve has been a masterful leader and visionary in crafting the future of the University of Minnesota, Rochester—moving this unique institution forward with innovation, with charm, and with humor. In fact, perhaps you’ve heard that the chancellor has agreed this coming Saturday to be part of a comedy performance called: “The University of Minnesota in a Shopping Center: You’ve Got To Be Kidding.”
Madam chair, members of the Board. It’s been hot, and some of us have been enjoying an occasional day off. But the University never rests.
First, let me tell you about our incoming class here on our Twin Cities campus. The data is still preliminary, but exciting. Our class of 2016 will be comprised of around 5,500 students, or nearly 200 over our target. We had more than 38,000 applications, down just a bit from last year, but reflecting Minnesota’s demographic decline in the number of high school graduates. The percentage of students from the state of Minnesota remains at around 62 percent, much like the profile over the past decade or so.
As my first year as president of this great University comes to a close, we continue to work to tell our unique story as Minnesota’s only comprehensive research and land-grant university. And we are telling that story in new and, I think, compelling ways.
We are telling it to the citizens of this state, to our business community, and to our elected officials through traditional media, social media, and through dynamic images.
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.
Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you all for your support and guidance during this first academic year of my presidency. And, if I may, a special welcome to my newest boss, Regent Devine.
When I started here in July, I set five broad goals: to listen and learn; to continue to improve to achieve excellence; to address the critical issue of access and affordability; to intensify our advocacy—in our communications and in our government relations—and to raise significant private philanthropy; and to improve operational efficiency by trimming administrative costs. Not that anyone's counting, but let me share with you how I've spent some of my time to date: