University of Minnesota President Pays Farewell Visit to UMD

President Kaler to step down July 1st.

DULUTH, Minn.- University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler is making his farewell rounds.

On Monday he paid one last official visit to the Duluth campus before he steps down in July.

The first stop on the president’s farewell tour was a sweet one, he visited the Chemical Engineering Department’s Chocolate lab at UMD.

Kaler went through the through the same process students do in the class, handcrafting different types of chocolates.

“I got to taste the beans, I got to roast the beans. I hope we remember to turn those off,” he said.

It was a rewarding and valuable experience, students said.

“It’s definitely something special that most students don’t ever get to see or experience,” said Tayler Hebner, a Senior Chemical Engineering major.

“And it’s cool that what we’re doing here in the chocolate lab is being recognized by the Department, and the University as something that’s different, and unique, and beneficial to the students and our curriculum as well.”

Kaler received a PhD from the Twin Cities campus in 1982, and has been President of the University of Minnesota since 2011.

The experience today was bittersweet, as it was Kaler’s first and last visit to the lab.

“There’s always a certain kind of melancholy in those kinds of periods of time,” he said. “But I’m very proud of the program we’ve made at UMD.”

He reflected back on his time as President, one accomplishment standing out to him: lowering the cost of attendance.

“We’ve really been able to bend the curb on the cost of tuition on all of our campuses. We’ve been able to have several years of tuition freezes on the Duluth campus,” said Kaler.

“The rate of tuition increase on the Twin Cities campus is as low as it’s been since the Eisenhower Administration. Which was about the time I was born.”

For the past 3 years the rate of tuition increase for the University of Minnesota has been between 2 and 2.5 percent.

Kaler will officially step down from the Presidency on July 1st. He’ll then work a year on the University’s philanthropic efforts, before taking a 6-month sabbatical.

But he is far from retiring.

After his sabbatical he is taking a teaching position at his Alma Mater, U of M Twin Cities, in their Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

His successor, Joan T.A. Gabel, will assume office on July 1st, becoming the first female President in the University’s 167-year history.

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