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Media Advisory

U of M President Eric Kaler to visit Willmar, mark opening of university’s Mid-Center Research and Outreach Center

Who: U of M President Kaler
What: Visit Willmar to meet with regional leaders, highlight U of M partnerships in Mid-Central Minnesota and speak at the opening of the university's Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center
When: Tuesday, May 15, 2 to 4 p.m.
Where: 1802 St. S.E. on MinnWest Technology Campus, Willmar

Contacts: Nina Shepherd, Academic Administration, shep001@umn.edu, (612) 625-5716
Patty Mattern, University News Service, mattern@umn.edu, (612) 624-2801

May 11, 2012

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will visit Willmar on Tuesday, May 15 to meet with community and business leaders and to mark the official opening of the university’s Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center on the MinnWest Technology Campus.

“Willmar is one of Minnesota’s most significant regional economic centers, and I’m looking forward to meeting with leaders and partners involved in our growing collaborations in the area, including the new Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center," President Kaler said.

President Kaler will be joined on the trip by his wife, Karen Kaler, along with university Regent Dean Johnson of Willmar and U of M Senior Vice President for System Academic Administration Robert J. Jones, who directly oversees MCROC.

The public is invited to attend an open house celebrating the MCROC opening, from 2 to 4 p.m. at 1802 18th St. S.E. on the MinnWest Technology campus in Willmar. A program beginning at 2:15 p.m. will feature brief remarks by Kaler, Johnson and Jones, along with James Sieben, president of the MinnWest Technology Campus and vice president and general manager of Nova-Tech Engineering.

The MCROC serves as a regional base for university research, education and engagement in collaboration with the MinnWest Technology Campus and City of Willmar. The MCROC mission is to promote innovation, economic growth and workforce development in areas vital to the region’s diversified economic base, with an emphasis on bioscience, biotechnology and agribusiness.

The center houses leading-edge avian research laboratories headed by nationally renowned turkey disease expert Carol Cardona, a professor in the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine. It is also home to Extension programs addressing community issues related to food and agriculture, environmental issues, families and communities and youth development.

Following the 2:15 program, President Kaler will tour the three-story MCROC facility, with staff and activities showcasing programs based in the building as well as nearby programs such as the university’s dentistry clinic at Rice Memorial Hospital, Area Health Education Center and Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory, among others.

The 18,000-square-foot MCROC is one of 30 historically significant buildings on the privately owned MinnWest Technology Campus, a 110-acre collaborative business community on the eastern shore of Willmar Lake. The U of M center features a teaching kitchen and high-tech media center, a university Extension office and a level 2 laboratory and space that will house student internship collaborations likely to involve the university’s Morris campus, St. Cloud State University and Ridgewater College.

The facility also includes space for future research collaborations related to renewal energy, as well as for planned continuing education and business training programs serving regional industries as well as community residents and university alumni.

More than 2,085 residents in the greater Willmar area are graduates of the University of Minnesota, including graduates with advanced degrees in medicine, law, engineering and veterinary medicine.

"Those jobs and degrees have saved lives, enhanced salaries, supported purchases in the Willmar business community and increased tax dollars for this state," Kaler said.

The university developed MCROC with support from MinnWest, the City of Willmar and the Kandiyohi County and Willmar Economic Development Corporation. The renovation of the MCROC building was supported in part by a $1.25 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development along with a matching contribution by MinnWest. 

The MCROC event is open to the public and will feature a reception. The event is free, but registration is requested at www.mcroc.umn.edu

Tags: All administrative: President, Provost, etc.

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