University of Minnesota Alumni Association


From the President: Greetings U of M Alumni Family

Photo Credit: Eric Miller/ ©2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota

I am honored and humbled to be the 17th person to hold the position of president of the University of Minnesota in our nearly 170-year history, and to have the opportunity to serve all of those who call the U of M home—including all of you, our incredible community of engaged alumni, friends, and supporters around the state and around the world.

I would like to express my sincere thanks for the many insightful conversations we’ve shared, and for the warm Minnesota welcome you’ve extended to me. To a person, you’ve conveyed your passion and love for this University, shared what the U of M has meant to you and often generations of your families, and shown how much pride you have in how our system, outreach, and discovery impacts the entire state and what it represents.

On September 20, I was inaugurated as president after a week of activities which blended long-held University traditions with new approaches that emphasized accessibility, inclusivity, innovation, discovery, and fiscal stewardship. I was proud to livestream the installation ceremony from the McNamara Alumni Center, and the inaugural address from the iconic steps at Northrop Memorial Auditorium, making the events available in real time for our University community. Visits to Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester followed, spotlighting the University’s work to advance impact across Minnesota and beyond. 

There were so many highlights across the system visits and the events of inauguration week, including the memorable image of Northrop Mall and the lawn filled with U of M family enjoying the festive atmosphere of food, games, and music. My grateful thanks to all of you who participated in inaugural visits and activities, either in person or via livestream. 

I’ll share with you a quote from our first president, William Watts Folwell, whom I also cited in my inaugural remarks: “We celebrate … beginnings. Ours is the hopeful toil of the sower, not the consummate fruition of the harvest.” A century and a half removed from those words, parallels abound, and I’m filled with optimism when I think of leading the U of M into this important next chapter.

I especially look forward to walking with you in this journey, and encouraging the invaluable role you play in advancing the U of M’s impact through engagement and support. In particular, thank you for your input on our system commitments and our work towards our systemwide strategic plan. [Ed. Note: See link below to learn more about the strategic plan.] I also thank you for the important role you’ve played in making the U of M an institution that’s never been one for shortcuts or settling for less—or of those who prefer leisure over grit—or seek only the form without the substance. Rather, because of you, the U of M is defined by our hopeful toil, as President Folwell described, which has transformed our University, our state, and our society for the better.

It’s been an exciting and rewarding start to my presidency. Thank you again for your warmth and support during our many interactions—from Farmfest to the State Fair, and from Inauguration to Homecoming.

I look forward to keeping you posted about happenings at the U of M. As always, thank you for all that you do for the University of Minnesota. 

You can read about the strategic plan here:

Read More