St. Paul Academy and Summit School is pleased to announce that Eric Kaler, the outgoing president of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, will be this year’s Commencement speaker. Kaler will address the Class of 2019 at SPA’s 119th Commencement on Sunday, June 9, 2019.
“It is indeed an honor to have President Kaler address the Class of 2019,” said Bryn Roberts, SPA’s Head of School. “In the rapidly changing world of higher education, President Kaler is known for his vigorous leadership and extraordinary understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing universities in the years ahead. He has an exquisite sense of what awaits our students heading off to college and university. It is hard to envisage a more informed and thoughtful speaker for this year’s graduating class.”
Kaler was appointed the University of Minnesota’s 16th President in 2011, and will retire on July 1, 2019. Throughout his tenure as President, Kaler has focused his work on core priorities: academic excellence, affordability, diversity and a welcoming and respectful campus climate, a world-class research enterprise that aligns with the needs of the citizens and industries of Minnesota, and a deep commitment to public engagement and outreach, locally and globally. In 2013, in partnership with Minnesota’s Legislature, Kaler achieved about $36 million in research investments from the state in an initiative called MnDRIVE—the Minnesota Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy program. The research emphases match some of the University’s research strengths with the state’s most pressing needs and key industries.
His personal commitment to excellence was rewarded in April 2014 when he was named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. He was elected in two categories: for his work as a chemical engineer and as a higher education administrator. Among other leadership activities, Kaler is Past Chair of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors. He was co-founder of Generation Next, a coalition of Twin Cities-area civic, business and education leaders united to help close the achievement and opportunity gaps in Minneapolis and St. Paul area schools.
Before coming to the U, Kaler served from 2007 to 2011 as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. Previously, he was Dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Engineering. He also taught at the University of Washington. Kaler received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1982. He went on to become one of the nation’s foremost experts on “complex fluids,” which have applications in drug delivery, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. He received his undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1978.