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The University of Minnesota Duluth

BRIDGE - Fall 2009, Volume 27, #1

Message from the Chancellor

UMD football team wins the 2008 national title. Here Jerry and Susan Johnson, and their son (defensive lineman) Tyler Johnson celebrate after the game. The Johnsons are from Rhinelander, Wis.
docs
The first graduates of UMD's new doctor of education degree include (l-r) Amy Bergstrom (with camera), Charles Glazman, Margaret Lynn Hoody, Lorraine Marie Mitchell, Catherine Pulkinen, and Cynthia Ann Welsh.


This year, my fifteenth at the University of Minnesota Duluth, will be my final year as Chancellor. I will retire on July 31, 2010 and move on to other areas of interest and importance. I do not believe there is another administrator in higher education as fortunate as I have been on this campus. We have been able to raise significant dollars for scholarships for our students, and our faculty has raised significant funding to support faculty, graduate, and undergraduate research projects. We have established partnerships to construct needed buildings, and we have benefited from a development office that just last year raised $10.2 million, in large part to provide endowments for collegiate units.

What other campus can boast of the success you —– alumni and friends, along with the students, faculty, and staff —– have helped to accomplish here at UMD? We have fared better than most, and the future promises to bring continued achievement.

This is a bittersweet announcement for me because I have come to love this campus and am very proud of all we have created in our endeavors together. Often times, I receive credit when the credit should really go to the support from alumni and friends and to the dynamic programs and people who work so hard to make UMD such a vibrant university.

I am especially proud of UMD's mission to create positive change. We not only influence the careers of our students, we send them out equipped to make a lasting impact on their communities, their country, and the world. As I travel, I hear story after story about alumni who excel in their professions and are a credit to UMD. For example, Eric Gustafson ’'97, foreign correspondent for Britain's The Economist magazine, provides critical communication to the world's decision makers as well as to the public. See his story in this issue of the Bridge.

We are changing lives through our impressive academic programs. Some years ago we started a program at UMD called Best of Class, where we give any student in the state of Minnesota who is first or second in their class significant scholarships. They are a great group of students, and we are expecting more of Minnesota's valedictorians and salutatorians on our campus in the coming years.

In Spring 2009, a Mortar Board National Honor Society chapter, Tau Delta, was established at UMD. Mortar Board recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service. The Tau Delta chapter at UMD is beginning its inaugural year and boasts 23 inducted members. Mortar Board is an honors organization that is run by students with support from advisors. I was an advisor for Mortar Board when I was at the University of Montana.

We are excited about our civil engineering program. We have recruited a concrete specialist, Andrea Schokker from Penn State University, to become the chair of the civil engineering program. We would have been happy with an initial class of 25 civil engineering students, so we were delighted when 60 students enrolled in Fall 2008, more than doubling our expectation. This Fall, the class more than doubled again adding 70 new freshmen and several transfer students. Schokker is overseeing the faculty and students as well as watching the construction progress of the new building, due to open in June 2010. The building will be LEED certified. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and we are expecting platinum status, which is quite rare.

In May 2009, at our commencement ceremony, we honored Jeno and Lois Paulucci: Jeno with an honorary doctorate and Lois with a Chancellor's Distinguished Service Award. Lois has been a great supporter of community causes in Duluth. Among them, a hospice house, a park on Lake Superior, and safe houses for women and children. Jeno, the son of Italian immigrants, has worked tirelessly over the years, creating and building more than 50 companies and organizations worldwide. These economic opportunities have provided thousands of jobs. UMD is fortunate indeed to count Lois and Jeno Paulucci as our friends.

Also in 2009, we conferred degrees for graduates from the two doctoral programs on the UMD campus. Two Ph.D. degrees in Integrated Biological Sciences and six doctoral degrees in education were presented.

These recent developments – the Best of Class Scholarship, the Mortar Board chapter, the civil engineering program, and the doctoral programs – all speak to the quality of academics at UMD.

UMD continues to grow. In addition to the Civil Engineering Building, we have built an outdoor classroom – a 100 percent sustainable classroom designed by David Salmela on the edge of the Bagley Nature Area. We see another important area of need, an American Indian Resources Center.

UMD is a national leader in the education of American Indian students. The head of the Bemidji Area Indian Health Service and the first woman in the Minnesota Ojibwe Nation to become a physician, Dr. Kathleen Annette ’'77, is a graduate of the Medical School-Duluth and started her work at UMD. The University of Minnesota graduates the second-largest number of American Indian physicians in the U.S., a great number of whom started in the Medical School-Duluth.

UMD turns out the second largest number of American Indian Masters of Social Work in the U.S. This is a contribution of which we can be very proud.

Our 130 identified American Indian students need support, and we work hard to provide it. The 31 American Indian faculty and staff who serve as role models and advisors are the greatest source of this support. Over two-thirds of them speak Ojibwe, and we offer courses in the Ojibwe language. Recently, UMD purchased the Chester Park School adjoining the campus, and there, in conjunction with the Duluth Public Schools, we have established a language nest for pre-K students who are learning Ojibwe.

You can see why it will be hard for me to leave. It is rewarding to simply be a part of these exciting and important events.

Very few chancellors can retire with a National Football Championship, four Women's National Hockey Championships, a volleyball team that has made the national semi-finals on a couple of occasions, and a new Mortar Board chapter. UMD has increased dollars in research, including research on fresh water and the environment conducted by the Large Lakes Observatory, Sea Grant, and NRRI.

Academics, programs, and athletics continue to be stellar at UMD. It is your continuing support that will
ensure that UMD remains an institution, not only rich in history, leadership, and academic excellence, but also a university dedicated to providing outstanding opportunities for our students and faculty.

It has been my pleasure to join you, our alumni and friends, in creating and celebrating our Great University on a Great Lake. I hope to see many of you in the months ahead. Thank you.

Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin.

 

 

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