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U of M Regents visit Morris area to highlight importance of renewed public investment

November 1, 2012

Four members of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents travel to Morris today to meet with campus leaders, students and alumni, tour research facilities and highlight the importance of renewed public investment in the university.

Last month the Board approved the university’s biennial budget request and legislative proposal to the State of Minnesota for fiscal years 2014-15.

Regents Richard Beeson of St. Paul, Thomas Devine of Chanhassen, John Frobenius of St. Cloud and David McMillan of Duluth will be joined on their visit to the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM) campus by UMM Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson and her leadership team.

“The Board of Regents sees the university’s statewide presence and impact as two of its greatest strengths,” said Linda Cohen, Board of Regents chair. “In partnership with policymakers in west central Minnesota and across the state, we’re interested in holding down tuition and delivering solutions to some of the state’s most complicated challenges.”

The 12-member governing board of the University of Minnesota is elected by the state legislature. One Regent is elected from each of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts and four are elected at large. Regents serve without pay for six-year terms.

The university’s biennial budget request focuses on freezing tuition for Minnesota undergraduate students, commits the U to $28 million in cost savings and launches four targeted research initiatives, the Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) program. MnDRIVE will focus on four areas over the biennium—environment, robotics, global food supply and brain conditions—to improve economic vitality, health and quality of life for Minnesotans.

A national leader in green initiatives, UMM is one of the first public colleges to generate on-site renewable power from local resources, such as corn stover. At the south edge of campus, a biomass gasification plant—fueled by crop residues from nearby farms—generates steam.

The Regents will tour the biomass gasifier, part of an integrated system for heating and cooling campus buildings, as well as the nearby West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC). Home to the first large-scale wind research turbine at a U.S. public university, WCROC provides a platform for wind energy research while generating additional energy sources.

The Regents will also meet with student leaders and members of the broader campus community before departing Morris on Friday.

The university’s impact in Morris extends beyond the UMM campus. More than 1,500 Morris area residents are graduates of the U of M, and together they hold 1,941 degrees, including advanced degrees in medicine, law, engineering and veterinary medicine. Last semester, the U’s five statewide campuses enrolled 312 students hailing from the Morris area.

Together with the UMM campus, the WCROC, Regional Extension Office, Stevens County Extension Office and nursing and medical school affiliations account for 371 jobs in the Morris area, resulting in $16,457,884 in economic impact.

The University of Minnesota Morris, one of the university’s five campuses, was named one of the top 10 public liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Declared a model liberal arts college by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in its recent re-accredidation report, Morris’ mission as an affordable, undergraduate college complements its small, residential atmosphere.

For more information, visit umn.edu or www.morris.umn.edu. For more information on building support for the university’s budget request and legislative proposal, visit www.supporttheu.umn.edu.

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