On March 4, Dr. Lendley C. "Lynn" Black is formally installed as the ninth chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). Black began his tenure as UMD's ninth chancellor last August. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 4, in the Romano Gymnasium. It is free and open to the public and will also be broadcast live at http://www.d.umn.edu/chancellor/inauguration/live.html
The inauguration ceremony will begin with a procession of UMD faculty; University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks; University of Minnesota Senior Vice President Robert Jones; many members of the University of Minnesota President Board of Regents; Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, Yvonne Prettner Solon; Duluth Mayor Don Ness; as well as delegates from colleges and universities. Black's friends and family will attend the event, as will UMD students, staff, alumni, and community members.
The investiture will include the presentation of the symbols of office, the University of Minnesota medal and mace, ceremonial symbols of inauguration.
Black said he was drawn to UMD in part by the high quality of teaching, research, and community involvement. Black and UMD leaders are charting a course that engages undergraduate students, builds upon the university's strengths, and increases its global impact. "One of our great opportunities is to encourage research and problem solving that address real world issues," Black said.
At a time when the economy struggles to gain ground, Black is proud of the fact that UMD receives more external research funding than all other Minnesota state colleges and universities combined, second only to the University's Twin Cities campus. "Research at UMD translates into patents, licenses, new industry, and jobs," Black said.
UMD's Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) promotes private sector employment by helping develop Minnesota's natural resources in an environmentally sound manner. Researchers provide services to industries large and small—from substantial iron ore operations, to the timber industry, to entrepreneurial start-ups. This year, 17 inventors from NRRI were honored by the University for their patents and licensures. "Innovations that help create a more vibrant economy and a healthier environment will continue to be a cornerstone of our research efforts at UMD," said Black.
UMD leads the nation in freshwater research. The Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) and the Center for Freshwater Research and Policy contribute to the university's international reputation for comprehensive research in freshwater. Minnesota's Sea Grant, another natural resource-based program, adds strength to the university's commitment to freshwater education. These unique programs have a positive impact on the shipping and tourism industry, as UMD acts as a first warning system on issues such as temperature change and invasive species.
These resources help UMD's students. UMD provides opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and doctoral candidates to participate in classroom, laboratory, and field study. Faculty, staff, and students from LLO have conducted research in places like Central Africa's Lake Malawi, one of Africa's largest lakes. School of Fine Arts faculty and students have traveled to Turkey to collaborate with their counterparts in graphic design and performance. Black is eager to see efforts like these continue and expand.
UMD is ranked among the top universities in the country for its commitment to the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. Financial awards are offered to full-time undergraduates for research, scholarly endeavors, or creative projects undertaken in partnership with a faculty member. Every field of study offers undergraduate research: fine arts, liberal arts, business and economics, education and human service professions as well as the sciences.
A Campus of Many Voices
UMD is a leader in American Indian education, with nearly 20 related campus programs, including strong programs in medicine. American Indian education extends from an early childhood program, to a Master of Education program, to one of the few social work master's degree programs in the nation that concentrates on American Indian social services. UMD has carved out a niche. Next fall, UMD will offer a new degree, a Master of Tribal Administration and Governance. UMD hosts a distinctive center on campus, a language nest, where pre-school children are immersed in the Ojibwe language.
Rural medicine is the focus of the university's nationally recognized two-year medical school program. The University of Minnesota graduates the second-largest number of American Indian physicians in the U.S., a great number of whom started at the University of Minnesota Medical School on the UMD campus. UMD's Center for American Indian & Minority Health assists these students to reach their goals in health careers. UMD is seeking funding from the legislature for an American Indian Learning Resource Center, to unite these programs and provide better support for UMD students.
Growing up in a segregated neighborhood in Memphis, Tenn., Black learned the importance of equity and diversity. "To prepare our students well, we need to prepare them for a global society. And to do that well, they need to be in contact with the kinds of people they will be working with throughout their careers," he said. "Attracting more foreign students and finding ways to ensure individual differences is valuable. We want to open our doors to great academic debate that is civil and productive." UMD's Office of Cultural Diversity develops and implements programs and services that support African American, Asian/Pacific American, Latino/Chicano, international, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, and students with disabilities.
Sustainability and the Environment
Within the context of the campus and the larger world, UMD seeks to balance current environmental, economic, and social needs with the needs of future generations. Sustainability is a "critical" priority to Black and UMD leaders.
He notes that UMD has signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment and that faculty, staff, and students have made extensive sustainability efforts. They include incorporating sustainable concepts into academics, constructing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings, and recycling tons of food waste into high-quality fertilizer. "We've got to continue our efforts in sustainability and see how we can enhance them," he said.
UMD is educating the next generation of sustainability leaders by offering an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies, a Master of Education in Environmental Education, an undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences and a Master of Environmental Health and Safety. The Department of Civil Engineering provides a strong emphasis in sustainability within its areas of specialty (Geotechnical, Structures, Transportation, or Water Resources). Although numerous challenges lie ahead for UMD, especially with regard to state funding, Black notes that higher education has had budget trials in the past and survived. "We will get through this and come out stronger on the other side," he said.
Meanwhile, UMD and members of the community at large are developing a strategic plan to address new realities and to help guide campus growth while increasing its academic stature. Black said, "The input has been excellent; the collective effort will give us a guide for the steps ahead." Dr. Black began his tenure as UMD's ninth chancellor last August. He formerly served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Kennesaw State University in Georgia and held several administrative positions at Emporia State University in Kansas.
UMD is a comprehensive university – part of the University of Minnesota system – that offers 13 bachelor degrees in 74 majors. UMD has a two-year medical school and a College of Pharmacy among its graduate programs in 24 fields. Fall 2010 enrollment in all UMD programs was nearly 11,800 students.
UMD consistently ranks among the top Midwestern, regional universities in U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges" issue.