Speeches and Writing
A Message for Alumni from President Eric Kaler, ’82
August 30, 2012
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.
We also are attracting some of the best high school students in Minnesota, the nation, and world. We had 38,000 applications this year for the 5,500 slots in our outstanding incoming Class of 2016. As a group, they have the highest ACT scores in University history, and nearly two-thirds of them are Minnesotans. We are seeing our students graduate at improved rates, keeping them on track to more swiftly be our next generation of leaders. And as the University’s reputation improves, the value of your degree increases and our national brand is enhanced, attracting more talent to our state.
This, my second year as the University’s president, is a very exciting time. It’s also a critical new academic and legislative year. I am meeting with Minnesota’s legislative leaders as we craft our request for the upcoming legislative session, which begins in January. A top priority is to put a cap on tuition and student debt. Maintaining affordability and accessibility, despite historic reductions in state support, is among our top priorities.
As successful and engaged alumni, you are an army of advocates for the U, and, I hope, promoters of this institution to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. You, as alumni, know the impact the U has had on your lives. Your ability to harness University pride is unique. We need alumni power to move the U forward, and I hope we count on your help.
As you’ve probably heard by now, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s (UMAA) CEO Phil Esten (Ph.D. ’03) will be leaving in October for the University of California-Berkeley athletics department. I am thankful to Phil for his leadership of UMAA. I wish him all the best in this new opportunity.
I hope to see you on campus soon. We have the marvelous Weisman Art Museum and Goldstein Museum of Design for you to visit. Theater and music events occur all the time. Exciting special events and lectures are on tap just about every day. And this time of year we can rally around our re-energized Gopher football program. Indeed, all of our Golden Gopher teams and student athletes play a significant role in bringing our entire University community together, especially you, our alumni. I hope to see you at TCF Bank Stadium or our other athletic venues this fall. If you don’t live in the Twin Cities, please consider joining us at an away game. Wherever you may find yourself supporting the U, look for me. If you can, stop to chat. I’ll be the guy in the maroon and gold outfit belting out the Rouser.
Eric W. Kaler, Ph.D. ’82