University of Minnesota Alumni Association


From the President

A Goodbye Message

It has been the honor of my career to serve all of those who call the U of M home—including all of you, the University’s incredible community of engaged alumni, friends, and supporters across the state and around the world. That is why this is such a difficult message to share as I get ready to depart the University this summer after four transformational and historic years as president.

It has been a journey that has impacted me deeply, and I will never be fully able to express my sincere appreciation to each of you for the many insightful conversations we’ve shared, in which, to a person, you conveyed your passion and love for this University. You’ve shared what it has meant to you and often to generations of your families, and the pride you have in how our learning, discovery, and service impacts the entire state. Your engagement and input have been especially invaluable to  MPact 2025, our University’s first comprehensive systemwide strategic plan, and the outcomes it has produced, from record graduation rates and research to propelling the institution into the Top-25 among public universities.

It is also because of you, and leaders who represent you on the UMAA Board, that the University’s 170-year legacy is strengthened. It’s never a place for shortcuts or settling for less, for those who prefer leisure over grit, or those who seek only form without substance. You have helped to amplify the defining words of our first president, William Watts Folwell, who noted at his inauguration (and words I shared at mine): “Ours is the hopeful toil of the sower, not the consummate fruition of the harvest.” It is this hopeful toil that has transformed the University of Minnesota, the state, and our society for the better. And it’s why I’m filled with optimism when I think of all we’ve done together over the last 1,300-plus days to ensure our University’s best days lie ahead. I look forward to staying in touch and relishing all this world-class and vibrant alumni community will do to change the world in the years ahead.

With gratitude,
Joan Gabel

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