U to rename building after former president Keller

The Electrical Engineering/Computer Science Building on the East Bank will be renamed after the U’s 12 president.

Mukhtar Ibrahim

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs Electrical Engineering/Computer Science Building will soon be named Kenneth H. Keller Hall. Keller, the 12th University of Minnesota president and a former chemical engineering professor, joined the University in 1964, and became the president in 1985. Keller was also an engineering faculty member. The All-University Honors Committee made a recommendation to current University President Bob Bruininks to name the building after Keller, said University spokesman Daniel Wolter . Bruininks made his recommendation to the Board of Regents, which approved the naming, Wolter said. It has been a tradition for University buildings to be named after retired University presidents, and Keller was a âÄúvery good president,âÄù said Regents Chairman Clyde Allen . âÄúI am very glad that we are able to honor him.âÄù Keller served as acting president in 1984 before taking over the full-time presidency in 1985. He resigned from his position on March 13, 1988, followed public criticism of the high cost of renovations to Eastcliff , the official residence of the University president. Changes to the building included improvements to the kitchen, dining room and other facilities where large functions were held, as well as upgrading the electrical and heating systems, adding air conditioning and improving the homeâÄôs insulation. Overall University funding problems had begun in the summer and fall of 1987, when a University report recommended closing the School of Dentistry, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the mortuary science program. Although the suggestions were rejected by the Kellher, and the Regents, they raised anxiety about University funding. Further anger resulted from the installation of a University-wide telephone system that had gone over the budget, the menâÄôs basketball team being placed on probation and the question of whether the Regents were aware of a $50 million reserve fund in the UniversityâÄôs budget. After spending two years at Princeton University and seven years as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Keller returned to the University in 1996. Upon his return, he was named the Charles M. Denny, Jr. Professor for Science, Technology and Public Policy in the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs . The Electrical Engineering/Computer Science Building is home to the electrical and computer engineering department, the computer science and engineering department and the Nanofabrication Center , all within the UniversityâÄôs Institute of Technology . The building was chosen because it was completed during KellerâÄôs presidency and had a âÄústrong connectionâÄù to his departmental home, Amundson Hall , Wolter said. It occupies a space of 336,000 square feet, making it one of the largest buildings on the University campus. Keller is now the director of the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies , a graduate school for international relations students.