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The University of Minnesota Duluth

BRIDGE - Summer 2010, Volume 28, Number 1

Message from the Chancellor

Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin (center) with Susan and Jim Swenson.
When students get an opportunity to study abroad ... They learn languages, they learn about other cultures first-hand, they gain new perspectives about their own country, and they make friends around the world. When they return ... they share their expanded worldview with their friends, classmates, and professors. That makes UMD stronger.

Greetings Friends:

Throughout the year, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet alumni and to cheer on students in various and changing venues. I started the year 2010 in Turkey, with our theatre students who performed the musical Footloose with Turkish students. Eight performances were sold out! I then traveled from Istanbul to Leipzig and on to Wittenberg and Berlin, traveling with the university chorus. The chorus performed in churches throughout Germany and at a magnificent Sunday service in Berlin.

In Istanbul, we met alumni of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, who were equally proud of the work being done by UMD students. In Germany, we met friends of former Vice Chancellor Bruce Gildseth. Bruce had served in Germany with the Lutheran Social Services prior to the Berlin Wall coming down. In each instance and with each person, I was more proud of the University of Minnesota Duluth. Our students were superb, the production of Footloose was outstanding, the services sung in Berlin were magnificent, and the individuals who have supported and known the University of Minnesota Duluth were always there to tell us of the strengths of our students and our campus.

Also in the first six months of 2010, I have attended many alumni events: in California in January and in various other venues, culminating in April in the Twin Cities where I received a tremendous tribute and was made an Honorary Alumna of the University of Minnesota Duluth. This means that I have now joined that great group of individuals who have supported this campus, which I will certainly continue to do, always with a sense of pride in our past and excitement for our future.

You have provided much, including scholarships for many, many students who could not have otherwise attended college. You have made it possible for us to recruit top quality students. No matter what fund it was or how much was given, you cannot believe what your help has accomplished.

I recently attended a scholarship luncheon and heard a scholarship recipient, a talented young woman, tell the story of growing up with her mother, a single mom. They lived at the poverty level. The student had to borrow money for her college application. She got in to UMD, but there was no money from home. She constantly worried if she would have tuition for the following year. I am happy to say she is a senior and will soon graduate. There are students in similar circumstances in all of our colleges, and your contributions are changing their lives.

UMD strives to be good stewards of your gifts. We continue to be a leader in sustainability. Over the years, we have made many advances in this arena. The Labovitz School of Business and Economics building was the first public building in the state of Minnesota to receive the Gold LEED (Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design) status. We have others with the LEED designation: the Civil Engineering Building and the Life Science Building. The Civil Engineering Building, which will receive its first students in fall 2010, is designed to be a Gold LEED building. Swenson College of Science and Engineering Dean Jim Riehl, architect Carol Ross Barney, and the head of civil engineering, Andrea Schokker, put together a building in which the building itself demonstrates the principals of civil engineering. And very recently we dedicated the Bagley Classroom, on the edge of the Bagley Nature Area. Designed by David Salmela, the classroom received a Platinum LEED designation.

The classroom is a teaching laboratory in the Bagley Nature Area and was constructed by our UMD Facilities Management department. Solar panels, passive solar, and other state-of-the-art technology mean that it will take miniscule amounts of energy to operate.

There has been as much to celebrate this year as there has been for each of the past 15 years. I remember well seeking advice from several members of the community about how UMD could get a new library. After we were successful in receiving funding for the library, it was clear to me and to many others that there were other learning facilities that needed to be added to this campus. Weber Music Hall, the Swenson Science Building, the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, the remodeling of the Life Science Building, the addition to the football stadium, and a superb new Sports and Recreation Center have completed the UMD campus in a way that was envisioned in the late 1940s. Nobody really thought after we dedicated the library that there would be other new buildings on the horizon, but thankfully with the support of our alumni, Ron and Mary Ann Weber, Jim and Sue Swenson, Joel and Sharon Labovitz, we were able to continue changing the horizon with new learning spaces to better support the students and faculty at UMD.

Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin (second from the right) with the first recipients of the Kathryn A. Martin Endowed Scholarship: (l-r) Emmanuelle Blais for ice hockey, Travis Faust for jazz, and Noah Craft for theatre.

Although new buildings have made a difference, many new programs are also making a positive impact. In 1995 we started the Bulldog Welcome Week, which has made a significant difference to freshmen as they arrive on campus. That week provides experiences to assist in acclimating these young people to the culture of UMD. We also have Best of Class Scholars, a strong Honors Program, and were recently accepted into the Mortar Board Honor Society. All of these accomplishments speak to the quality of our faculty and the leadership of our deans. I salute them now as I have done many times in the past! Nowhere that I have ever served, as a dean or as a faculty member, has there been a stronger and more dedicated faculty than at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I am also proud of the advances we have made in advisement. More students than ever are finding the right classes, the right majors, good career advice, and getting good jobs.

The faculty at UMD are strong and so is the student body. Our students want to be engaged in the educational process. They want to be challenged, and they are not shy about telling the administration what we ought to keep and what we should change. Every week of every year something special is taking place at UMD. Our faculty has set a remarkable standard. They accomplish the highest levels of results with our students, in academics, performance, in undergraduate research, and in service to community. I have seen UMD students perform at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Montreux Jazz Festival. I have seen engineering students win international competitions. In fact, in every college, students are accomplishing remarkable things. UMD’s rankings in many areas are up at the top.

The university is engaged in education across the globe, and we continue to enhance our international connections. Currently, there are 449 UMD students studying in 34 different countries. When students get an opportunity to study abroad, it is not only a good experience for them for those months; it is life changing. They learn languages, they learn about other cultures first-hand, they gain new perspectives about their own country, and they make friends around the world. When they return to campus, they share their expanded worldview with their friends, classmates, and professors. That makes UMD stronger.

In athletics as well, we have much to brag about. Just look at our record. During the recent 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, seven current students and seven alumni competed in women’s ice hockey on the Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and U.S.A. teams. Of all universities with students in the Olympics, according to the Wall Street Journal, we ranked second in numbers of athletes competing.

Certainly you all are aware of the strength of our women’s hockey team. Under the leadership of Coach Shannon Miller, arguably the finest women’s hockey coach in the world, UMD added national championship number five!

NCAA Div. I sanctioned national championships have only existed for ten years, and the University of Minnesota Duluth has won 50 percent of those championships! That’s a pretty awesome statistic. During the final game of the 2010 Frozen Four, the fifth time the women won the championship, they went into a third overtime. We were exhausted from the tension. The final goal showed 33.06 seconds remaining. Those hockey players played the equivalent of an entire extra game. Another trip to the White House is in our future. We have been there four times, and I am proud to be joining Coach Shannon Miller and her hockey players for the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama at the White House.

Many of our other teams at UMD have gone on to post-season play: the football team in fall 2009, the women’s basketball team, and women’s softball team, to mention a few. The football team won the national championship in 2008. We have also had track and field athletes do extremely well and go on for a chance at national championships. I mention the success of the current students because they are the alums of the future, and their success on the campus today bodes well for the future of the UMD Alumni Association. Our current students are achieving at the same level as many of you did when you were students on our campus.

As I come to the end of my tenure as chancellor, I am experiencing a different role. Two UMD friends, Joel and Sharon Labovitz, have established the Kathryn A. Martin Endowed Scholarship for Theatre, Jazz, and Women’s Ice Hockey. For the first time since arriving at UMD, I am realizing something many of our generous donors already know, how meaningful it is to be directly responsible for scholarships. I met the first students who have been awarded a scholarship named after me: Emmanuelle Blais for ice hockey, Travis Faust for jazz, and Noah Craft for theatre. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to meet my own scholars.

And finally, at commencement this year we honored two UMD alumni, Michael Berman and Richard Teske, with the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa. Michael Berman had an illustrious career working his way through the ranks of the Democratic Party and serving as Chief of Staff for Vice President Walter Mondale. Richard Teske is a nationally recognized expert on health care and served during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. What could be better than to honor our own outstanding alums with honorary degrees at our 2010 commencement!

In this position as chancellor, I have learned a lot about the nature of giving. I have learned in these 15 years there is simply no end to the generosity of UMD’s alumni and friends. I have complete confidence in the future. I know that donors, friends, and alumni will be there for UMD, the “Great University on a Great Lake.”

You have been good friends. From the depth of my heart, I thank you for being part of my life!

Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin.



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