As prepared for delivery by President Eric W. Kaler, Thursday, September 22, 2011:I first came to the University of Minnesota in September of 1978.I was about to be 22 years old. And I was about to be a graduate student in the best chemical engineering program in the world.I had a fellowship to support me, which was the only way this son of a working class family couldgo to graduate school.That was my first encounter with the excellence of this University, and with the mission andpublic support that made it accessible to me.That was the University of Minnesota then, and, in many ways, what it still is today.But those twin pillars of excellence and access at the University, those two foundational stonesfor the prosperity of Minnesota, have never been more at risk.
That’s why I am devoting this next chapter of my life to the mission of this University, and to the
future of its students.
But I’m just one person. I can’t achieve excellence alone, not in these unusual times, not amid
increasingly scarce resources, not across this vast organization.LIFT LIFT LIFT LIFT
That’s why I’m asking you –
students, faculty, staff, elected officials, business leaders, alumni,and citizens of Minnesota
. . . I’m asking you today to join me to m
ove this University forward,
to tell our great stories. I’m asking you to help me to instill pride in this great University among
every citizen of our state.
Together, we can fulfill this University’s extraordinary promise.
My friends, we have work to do.
Governor Dayton, thank you for your part in today’s ceremony, and for your unwavering
support. Thank you very much.Chair Cohen, Vice Chair Larson, and Regents Allen, Beeson, Brod, Frobenius, Hung, Johnson,McMillan, Ramirez, and Sviggum . . . Thank you for your wisdom, your governance of this greatUniversity, and your confidence in me as its President.Mayors Coleman and Rybak, other honored elected officials, faculty, students, and staff here,and watching in Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester, welcome. Alumni here and watchingaround the world . . .Friends in our Extension offices and Research and Outreach Centers across the state, all of ourhonored delegates from Minnesota, from across the nation and around the world . . . Members