The month of May brings great changes to the University of Minnesota. Students have finished their classes, taken their finals and our Class of 2011 has officially graduated and moved on to new and exciting opportunities. This summer also brings new change at the U of M. President Robert Bruininks will be retiring from his post and returning to what he's always enjoyed most; teaching. Eric Kaler, who earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1982, will succeed President Bruininks as the 16th president of the U of M. Next year will be a very exciting time to be a Golden Gopher!
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2011 Annual Alumni Association Celebration. The program kicked off with a reception at the Carlson School of Management. Alumni old and young gathered on the West Bank to mingle, reminisce, and celebrate the University of Minnesota.
The main event of the evening was the Alumni Program, which reflects on and celebrates the previous year. The program was was held in Ted Mann Concert Hall, a facility that hosts an array of campus events throughout the year, including our School of Music's student concerts. During the program, U of M Alumni Association representatives presented highlights and videos of the University's research and mentorship programs. Current student groups, such as the 7 Days a capella ensemble, showcased their talents between presentations. However, the highlight of the evening, by far, was President Bruininks' address to commemorate his nine years in office.
Hearing some of the accomplishments of our students, faculty, and alumni was inspiring. Students that graduate from the U of M are part of a strong alumni community that consists of over 375,000 people; people who serve in all industries from government to entertainment and everything in between. Alumni of the U of M have founded over 19,000 companies that employ over 1.1 million people. I'm proud to be a Golden Gopher, and I hope that someday you will be too!