A message from Eric Kaler

The newest president of the University of Minnesota introduces himself to students.

I love September and its newness. The sights and sounds of the fall semester, the joy of new students and colleagues, and the sense of optimism and a fresh start give energy to many of us, and certainly to me.
I am thrilled to be the president of the University of Minnesota for whatâÄôs certain to be an exciting, challenging and history-making year.
When I came to graduate school here, I aspired to earn a Ph.D., dive into industrial research and climb the corporate ladder. I was the first in my family to go to college, so my focus was on getting a job âÄî very preferably a good-paying job.
But plans change. It was 1981. I was a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and I was asked to teach a class. The offer came at the last minute, and it was to teach an undergraduate class âÄî albeit an undergraduate class that I had not taken! So there I was, teaching a class about which I did not know very much but enjoying it beyond anything I had expected.
It turned out to be mostly a math class, and I was good at math. I taught the course, and it was wonderful (at least for me, and I donâÄôt think the students were permanently harmed). I had connection with the students, and teaching that course changed my life.
I learned that, when you least expect it, opportunities at this University will present ourselves. I urge you to be open to that. Discover things here. Take full advantage of all we have to offer.
Keeping the University great is my business now. As you know, state budget cuts have been painful. As it has at most of the nationâÄôs top-notch public research universities, tuition increased. That situation makes me unhappy, and it energizes me to drive change.
I want us to be excellent in every way. I want qualified students to be able to afford attending this extraordinary place. I pledge to you that I will do all that I can to tackle the rising tuition trend. We must do that.
As this first semester of my administration unfolds, I will continue to tell our story about the value and power of MinnesotaâÄôs only public land-grant research University.
We change lives on campus and throughout the state and world. We teach leaders. Our research cures diseases, invents devices and feeds the world. Our service reaches out across Minnesota.
Support for the University is an investment in the future of MinnesotaâÄôs economic health, cultural vitality and quality of life. It is an investment in its people.
Campus leaders, faculty and staff commit themselves to making the student experience as excellent as any in the nation, and I hope our community will take time to proudly advocate for our University, too. DonâÄôt be bashful in telling friends, neighbors and even your local legislator about how good we are.
As we roll up our sleeves and get down to work, I look forward to a great year of learning and growth for us all.