The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 19, No.1, Summer 2002

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Letter from Chancellor Martin

Dear Friends of UMD:

This past academic year has added another year to the proud history of UMD and our growing reputation as “A Great University on a Great Lake!” As I have said before in conversations with many of you as I have traveled across the country to meet alumni, I wonder what could happen in succeeding years that could match or exceed the UMD accomplishments of the preceding year. And once again, as it has been for the past six years, the litany of achievements presents a proud contribution to our past history and our expectation for the future.

On February 13, with pride and deep appreciation I placed the U.S. flag at the peak of the Weber Music Hall, signifying the halfway point or “topping off” in the construction of the steel shell that will brace the copper dome. From the top of the dome structure I had a unique perspective to see how UMD is changing. To the north, the sun glistened off the copper dome of the UMD Library, which is now sharing the skyline with the Weber Music Hall. To the west, scaffolding laced around the new seven-story residence hall, which will provide housing next fall for 250 students. Soon that side of campus will be joined by the James I. Swenson Science Building, which has just received legislative funding approval. As the landscape of the campus changes, the impressive new facilities speak to our on-going commitment to teaching and our commitment to UMD as a learning community.

While they were unable to share in the special “topping-off” celebration, I was deeply grateful for UMD alumni Mary Ann and Ron Weber, whose generous gift provided the foundation for the $9 million Weber Music Hall construction. Our students eagerly await being able to perform next October during the Weber Music Hall grand opening gala October 24 and 25. Also, we plan to celebrate the generosity of alumnus Jim Swenson and his wife, Susan Swenson, at the October 3 - 4 groundbreaking for the Swenson Science Building.
We view the learning community of UMD as a community that involves outstanding academic programs, support for faculty research, supportive services across the campus, campus recreation activities, and strong athletic programs, all of which are contributing factors to a successful academic community. Our record for the past several years, including this immediate academic year, speaks well for our faculty, staff, and our students!

The mission of UMD is to provide the strongest possible undergraduate education with selected graduate programs and a keen emphasis on research, specifically preservation of the environment and fresh water resources. The Large Lakes Observatory, Natural Resources Research Institute, and Sea Grant Program all contribute to our work on the structure of our ecosystems through the biological sciences and geographical sciences, and water research. This research contributes to protecting and strengthening our ecosystem in northeastern Minnesota, the nation, and the world. An important aspect of all of our research is the work being done through our undergraduate research program as our undergraduate students partner with our faculty in the research that is conducted in a variety of areas of research. The undergraduate research program is one of the leading academic opportunities for students at UMD. Undergraduate research takes place across the campus in the arts and humanities as well as in the sciences, and provides UMD students with a foundation for graduate study that is unparalleled.

Throughout the campus, students and faculty have been involved in a variety of external service activities in support of individuals who are in need of assistance. Student athletes and other members of the student body are involved in tutoring. Education students volunteer in schools across the city and region. Students work with Northwood Children’s Services and Woodland Hills residents, and work throughout the non-profit community in the Duluth area. This work focuses on taking advantage of student willingness as well as expertise. In addition to the work with organizations, our students have had successful blanket drives, food drives, and book drives – all to assist those individuals throughout our society who are often unable to provide themselves with basic essentials and learning opportunities.

Last fall UMD engineering students, Mike Anderson, Mike Lackore, Dave Halverson, and Joe Higgins, under the direction of Professor David Wyrick, won an international mechanical engineering design competition. They designed a fishing pole to be used by paraplegics that is operated by the flow of air blown into an apparatus. Our students defeated the major engineering schools from across the U.S. in solving this problem. Obviously we are extremely proud of Professor Wyrick and our student designers.

The Movie Game, a comedy written by UMD 2001 alumnus Adam Hummel, was recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., having been selected as one of four productions from across the nation to participate in the American College Theatre Festival. This is the second time in four years and the fifth time since 1985 that UMD has received the American College Theater Festival’s highest honor. The Movie Game was directed by Tom Isbell, UMD associate professor of theatre who received the 2002 Horace T. Morse Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Professor Isbell, who exemplifies our faculty’s commitment to our students’ success, is featured in this issue of Bridge in a special section on UMD faculty.

As this academic year has come to a close our women’s hockey team repeated their success as Division I NCAA National Champions. The Frozen Four was held at the University of New Hampshire, and in the first round the UMD Bulldogs defeated Niagara University (4–2), and in the final game defeated Brown University (3–2) for their second National Championship. No other hockey team has won back-to-back national victories, and the University of Minnesota Duluth Women’s Ice Hockey Team became the first women’s team in Minnesota to win national championships. We congratulate Coach Shannon Miller and the members of the UMD Women’s Ice Hockey Team. And as this issue goes to press, we will again travel to the White House to be recognized by President George W. Bush for the success of our women’s hockey team.

Hopefully, you will share in my pride for all of the accomplishments of our faculty and of our students and will visit campus soon to see the evolving UMD skyline. It is an exciting time, and it would not be possible without the support of so many of our alumni and friends!

– Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin


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