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U of M President Eric Kaler highlights university's role in strengthening Minnesota economy in visit to Rochester

July 19, 2012

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler spoke to The Rotary Club of Rochester today about the statewide economic value of the U, his commitment to keeping tuition in check and the challenges the university faces amid deep state funding reductions.

“The University of Minnesota is working hard with southern Minnesota partners to advance Minnesota’s prosperity and strengthen the economy,” Kaler said. “There is deep value and return on investment in the U. Our research and land grant mission make us a unique engine for producing the high-level workforce and discovery that Minnesota needs to continue its national and international leadership.”

Kaler also met with community and business leaders, alumni and legislators from southern Minnesota on the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) campus. He was joined by UMR Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle and university Regents Dr. Patricia Simmons of Rochester and Richard Beeson of St. Paul.

Kaler started the day by leading a delegation of university researchers in a private meeting with legislators. They focused on the high-impact and innovative research conducted by the U’s Center for Transportation along Highway 52 and I-90 across southern Minnesota.

“University research is helping ensure road safety and saving lives, particularly in Greater Minnesota,” Kaler said. “This is one example of how we work with communities and other partners to help solve our state’s most pressing problems.”

More than 8,000 residents of the counties located along the I-90 corridor are graduates of the University of Minnesota, and together they hold nearly 10,200 degrees, including advanced degrees in medicine, law, engineering and veterinary medicine. Last semester, the U’s five statewide campuses enrolled 2,103 students hailing from Faribault, Freeborn, Jackson, Martin, Mower, Olmsted, Nobles, Rock and Winona counties. 

The UMR campus, Rochester and Worthington Regional Extension offices and area county Extension offices account for more than 600 jobs along the I-90 corridor, resulting in an influx of $38 million to the region.

“Rochester is home to a world-renowned medical center and is a center for high-tech leadership,” Kaler said. “We value our partnerships with the region and look forward to working on new challenges together.”

UMR, part of the University of Minnesota system, is focused on providing high-quality health sciences education. UMR was formally established as a U of M campus in December 2006 and is located in University Square in the heart of downtown Rochester. For more information, visit

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies solves vexing transportation challenges in innovative ways, convening diverse communities to brainstorm, debate, share, learn and act. CTS partners with local and global transportation professionals, stakeholders, businesses and leaders to move new ideas from research to reality. For more information, see the 2012 highlights video at

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