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The University of Minnesota Duluth
BRIDGE - Fall 2008, Volume 26, #1
Message from the Chancellor
Greetings to our alumni and friends:
Over the 2007-2008 academic year, the faculty, staff, and students of UMD have been involved in several great events bringing recognition to various areas of the campus. I am certain that you will agree: we are A Great University on a Great Lake!
The President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen, spent three wonderful July days in Duluth. It is not often that a city or a university has the opportunity to host a head of state and award an honorary doctorate to that individual. Over 4,000 people attended the ceremony at the DECC which is where we customarily hold UMD commencements. The awarding of the honorary degree to President Halonen was part of FinnFest 2008, one of the largest Finnish-American festivals. President Halonen received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her outstanding leadership on behalf of her work on the rights of women, and workers, and the poor, particularly the indigenous people of Finland. She is truly deserving and UMD was honored to present her with this high award. Also, I was honored to serve on a panel of women leaders that included President Halonen; the former U.S. Ambassador to Finland, Ms. Marilyn Ware; and other women leaders.
In the fall of 2007, we held the first of our Sieur du Luth annual lectures and panel discussions. The Sieur du Luth event was sponsored by Richard Teske ’71 and his wife Judi. Richard’s idea was to bring together people of diverse intellectual philosophies to explore various issues. Students, faculty, and the general public participated in the symposium, which also featured the unveiling of the collection of political memorabilia donated to UMD by Michael Berman ’61. Michael was a longtime aide to Walter F. Mondale and served as his Chief of Staff during Mondale’s years as Vice President. Michael presented a lecture on “National Conventions and Their Role in Presidential Campaign Civility.” Respondents included Richard Teske and former Vice President Mondale. The event was very well attended, and the memorabilia continued to be enjoyed long after the symposium. Richard Teske focused on the issues of civility and honor, which are critical to the successful political process. We know that these dynamic alumni and friends carry the good news of UMD into the world, but we also know that as they visit the campus, they inspire those of us here to view events differently, to think differently, and respond in a more civil and humane manner.
UMD is building a new Civil Engineering Building, and we held the groundbreaking for this remarkable campus addition on July 11, 2008. This project, started with a generous gift of $3 million from the Swenson Family Foundation, is also supported by $2 million from the university and $10 million from the Minnesota Legislature. The building is well underway with the foundation walls now being poured and tunnels being redirected. Rather than the 25 pre-civil engineering students that were anticipated, we have 45. We continue to be grateful to all who are involved in securing this facility for UMD.
The building will provide instructional and laboratory space for our
new baccalaureate in civil engineering. This is especially important because
these graduates will fulfill a strong, identified need for civil engineers
in the region. The program is a natural expansion, and it complements
our mechanical, electrical and computer, chemical, and industrial engineering
programs. Civil engineers have one of the world’s most important
jobs; they build to enhance our quality of life. They design, construct
and run the facilities essential to contemporary life, from bridges and
highways to utilities and energy-efficient buildings. As with the Swenson
Once again the UMD Women’s Hockey team won the national championship. Of the eight NCAA sponsored Division I National Championships, the UMD Bulldogs, coached by Shannon Miller, have won the title four times. It was an especially sweet victory for the Bulldogs as the 2008 Frozen Four competition was held in Duluth. The atmosphere was indeed electric with alumni coming from across the country as well as Sweden, Norway, and Finland to watch former teammates. In June, the team, coaches, myself, Vice Chancellor Greg Fox, and UMD alumnus Mitch Sill, traveled to the White House to join President Bush in honoring 18 Division I National Championship teams. In his comments, President Bush cited the fact that four of the eight years that he has been in the White House the UMD Women’s Hockey team has won a National Championship and has come to Washington.
For the first time in the history of UMD, one of our students was chosen as a Division II Student Athlete of the Year. That honor was bestowed on Vicky Braegelmann who for over four years has been an All-American in women’s volleyball while at the same time excelling academically.
On the academic side, we are very proud of the great strides made by our Honors Program, which is directed by Eve A. Browning, Ph.D. On an annual basis, the Honors students have traveled to the Twin Cities or Chicago to visit museums, attend concerts, and take part in various cultural activities. Additionally this year, they sponsored an Honors Student Journal. The name of the journal, Aisthesis, is the ancient Greek word for informed perception. The journal was created by honor students for honor students with a focus on undergraduate works of scholarship and artistry. Students from across the country are included in the publication; Arkansas State University, Ashland University, Michigan State University, and University of Wisconsin Madison are among those universities represented. In addition to being outstanding students, the students in the Honors Program also serve to influence their classmates as role models, mentors, and friends.
In the fall of 2007, we began our first doctoral program, an Ed.D. in education. One year later, in the fall of 2008 we began accepting students into a Ph.D. program in integrated biosciences. The integrated biosciences, or IBS, is one of only four such programs in the country and provides unique and cutting edge instruction. The program emphasizes the interaction of various biological disciplines.
Wonderful events took place on the UMD campus in the summer. Our Summer Arts Festival brought one event after the next to entertain thousands of community members and visitors alike. Theatre professor Tom Isbell directed Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Students came from Turkey, Italy and around the world to study music and perform opera including Il Trovatore and Samson et Dalila.
Once again we thank you for your generosity and your support of UMD. My apologies for the tardiness of this issue of the Bridge. So much was going on and we were all so busy that it interfered with the publication, and I apologize for that. I would say to you that your support continues to ensure that UMD is an institution not only rich in history, leadership, and academic excellence, but also a university dedicated to continuous improvement in providing outstanding opportunities for our students and faculty. Together with you, our alumni and friends, we are the University of Minnesota Duluth.
— Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin.
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