When new University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler came to UMM on Tuesday, he repeatedly emphasized the campus' unique combination of a strong liberal arts core and emphasis on renewable energy and sustainability, calling UMM an "intellectual magnet" in the state.
"This is a special place," Kaler told a gathering of about 50 community members. "This is a community that clearly values its students. It's a community that's devoted to excellence in undergraduate education."
Kaler comes to the University of Minnesota from Stony Brook University in New York where he served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Kaler is also a University of Minnesota alumnus, receiving a doctorate in chemical engineering from the U in 1982.
UMM was Kaler's first visit to a coordinate campus since he took office July 1.
Throughout the day, Kaler demonstrated an understanding of the role of the liberal arts in the university system, and the role Morris plays as a coordinate campus.
"The terrific thing you have in Morris is that history and delivery of liberal education, but you're doing it in a terrific space because of the intersection with the renewable and sustainable programs," Kaler said. "You're now having somebody emerge from Morris with a great education in the liberal ars, but with an understanding of the most critical issues facing society. I suspect Morris graduates are going to be quite popular in the world because they've got a good set of skills."