2020-02 From the President: Helping to build a stronger U of M

Bill Donohue is on a well-deserved vacation and asked me to communicate with you this month regarding a few items of interest.

Our holiday event on December 17 at the Campus Club was attended by more than 70 participants and, judging from the conversations and feedback, was enjoyed by all. The 7Days A Capella student ensemble from the School of Music was outstanding and added to the festivities. The holiday event will be held again in December 2020.

2020 Capital Request
At the UMRA Board meeting on January 28, J.D. Burton, the University’s chief government relations officer, gave a presentation on the University’s 2020 Capital Request to the Minnesota Legislature. The 2020 legislative session will address capital bonding requests; the biennial operating budget request was granted in 2019. 

The U’s 2020 capital request, approved by the Board of Regents, includes funding for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (facilities upkeep), replacement of the Child Development Building, renovation of A.B. Anderson Hall, design of a new Clinical Research Facility, and creation of a new Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory.  

These resources are essential for the University to fulfill its mission in support of programs serving students and preparing workforce-ready graduates for the state of Minnesota.  

The University needs your help to gain the support of the legislature for the request, the details of which can be found at: government-relations.umn.edu/content/2020-capital-request

J.D. Burton suggested a few ways in which we may help: join the UMN Advocates Program, contact or visit your representatives or senators and express your interest in and support for the bonding request (they apparently like social media), or attend the upcoming “Support the U Day” at the Minnesota State Capitol on March 26.

Optimism for the U of M
With Bill’s leadership, a commentary expressing UMRA’s enthusiastic optimism for the future of the University was published in the online newspaper MinnPost on January 22. Go to umra.umn.edu/news/202002-optimism-oped to find a link to the commentary on the UMRA website.

Are you interested in going to Portugal? The UMRA Travel Committee, together with Road Scholar, is planning a visit there. The deadline to register is March 1. For questions or reservations, contact Road Scholar or UMRA Travel Committee Chair Cherie Hamilton at pimentamalgeta@hotmail.com or 612-929-0233.

I hope to see you at one or more of the forums, workshops, or other UMRA programs in the lineup for the year ahead.

—Frank Cerra, president-elect