University of Minnesota Alumni Association


Editor's Note

So Many Stories To Tell


I FIND THAT WHENEVER I pose that tired old cocktail party query “And what do you do?,” to people who’ve  graduated from the U of M, I’m inevitably fascinated by the answer. After all, the sheer depth and breadth of vocations and passions represented by alumni of the University is breathtaking. 

When I first interviewed for the job as editor at Minnesota Alumni, one of the questions I was asked dealt with how I would find compelling, unique alumni stories to feature in the magazine.

My answer—then and now—was ‘“how could I not?”’

U of M alumni seem to share a unique ability to make an impact on the world around them. And since more than 500,000 living alumni call the U of M-Twin Cities campus their alma mater, from my vantage point that means there are probably half a million stories worth telling in this magazine, limited only by the space we have available.

For instance, in this issue we share how alumnus Mitch Seidenfeld and his U of M student son, Ian, used their athletic prowess and determination to both secure gold medals in two separate Paralympic competitions.

We also highlight recent graduate Juan Andrés Rujana, who is using his College of Design education to employ empathy and creativity in building products and designs that improve life for others.

In the case of alumna Jane Maland Cady, her deep convictions about the importance of working for the social good led her to the McKnight Foundation, where she’s now supporting research projects for small farmers in locales across the globe.

And for students and alumni who’ve passed through one of the innovative programs at the University’s YMCA, the leadership training and support they’ve found there has empowered them and solidified their desire to serve others in the future.

Those are just a few of the stories worth telling that you’ll find in this issue. Many more remain to be told, and we’ll keep bringing them to you in future magazines.

After all, for most of us, our college years stand among the most formative we’ll experience. College allows us to develop our intellect, discover our curiosity, and define and refine our goals. 

That inspiration also forms the core of who we eventually become—and ultimately, what we do with the education we’ve received.

Kelly O’Hara Dyer can be reached at

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