University of Minnesota Alumni Association

Columns

From the President

Excellence Now; Building for the Future

At many of the events I’ve attended this year, I’ve witnessed the incredible enthusiasm that alumni have for this great University. Your experiences here came before mine, but now I’ve had nine months of insight and enlightenment. This is a truly special place.

I never tire of pointing out the U of M’s recent and ongoing accomplishments—many of which were highlighted in the U’s annual Performance and Accountability Report.

The Twin Cities campus has recorded the second highest four-year and highest six-year graduation rates of all time. The Duluth and Rochester campuses had their highest four-year graduation rates ever recorded. And the Twin Cities campus achieved its highest “national universities” ranking ever, according to U.S. News & World Report, and continues to rank in the top 25 of our nation’s public universities.

Our external research funding has increased 30 percent over the past five years. We were awarded more than $1 billion in research grants for the third year in a row; we spun out a record 23 new startups, keeping us on pace for our goals in the MPact 2025 strategic plan; and we received 225 patent grants, putting us at No. 18 for universities in the U.S.

The Twin Cities campus achieved its highest 'national universities' ranking ever, according to U.S. News & World Report.

And there are countless ways we work with Minnesotans in meaningful, community-driven engagement, and that’s being recognized. Earlier this month, our Crookston, Duluth, and Rochester campuses were awarded the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement, joining the Twin Cities and Morris campuses. This makes the U of M the country’s first and only university system at which every individual campus has received this selective designation.

Our work to build a better University of Minnesota continues. This spring we will continue to advocate at the state Capitol on behalf of the U’s $500 million capital budget request—which is entirely focused on asset preservation. This funding is important, as we need to preserve and modernize our facilities for current and future students and address a massive backlog of deferred maintenance needs. About 8.8 million square feet within our facilities—more than 25 percent of the total—are considered to be in poor or critical condition.

We’re also seeking $45 million in recurring operational funds to help keep student costs as low as possible while addressing a portion of continued cost increases. Alumni advocacy has always been a key component of our work at the Capitol, so please urge your elected officials to fully support the University of Minnesota’s legislative request.

We’re also grateful for the work of the Governor’s Task Force on Academic Health at the U of M. A number of its recommendations support key steps toward our long-term vision for a healthier Minnesota. The University stands ready to collaborate on developing world-class facilities to attract and retain globally recognized experts and highly skilled professionals to provide the highest standards of care for every Minnesotan. We will need our public and private partners to work with us to build out a strong academic health system in Minnesota—a model for others to aspire to. 

There are now more than 517,000 alumni of the Twin Cities campus. Our list of remarkable accomplishments continues to grow with that number. And our list of short- and long-term goals and challenges never ceases.

It’s an honor to help our amazing University move forward, and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this community.

Jeff Ettinger
Interim President


If you liked this story, Minnesota Alumni magazine publishes four times a year highlighting U of M alumni and University activities. The magazine is a benefit of being a Alumni Association member. Join here to receive a printed copy at home.

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