McMillan voiced optimism, great affection for the U

David McMillan, chair of the Board of Regents, answered a variety of questions from the audience following his presentation at UMRA’s May 2019 meeting.

UMRA’s 2019 Annual Meeting on May 21 was highlighted by a presentation from Dave McMillan, chair of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. McMillan has been a regent since 2011 and has served as the board chair for the past two years. He gave an illuminating and educational description of the board and its work, and, for an extended period of time, answered questions on many current topics. His presentation was remarkable for its candor and sincerity. He was well received by the membership.

McMillan began with a discussion of the founding of the University in 1851 by an act of the Territorial Legislature, which was then perpetuated in the Minnesota Constitution when Minnesota became a state in 1858. He emphasized the three-part mission of the University—teaching, research, and outreach—and said the state-wide impact of the University is dramatically expressed not only through its campuses but also through numerous research centers, Extension offices, and health care programs. 

McMillan also reviewed some familiar statistics about the size and scope of the University: 67,000 students across five campuses; 26,000 employees, making the U the fifth-largest employer in the state; and nearly 16,000 degrees granted annually, which is critical for workforce development. For more U metrics, see the slidesof his presentation posted on the UMRA website.

He spent some time describing the structure of the board and how it works. He also reviewed the board’s priorities for 2018–19 and evaluated what had been accomplished. 

Most important, McMillan expressed great enthusiasm about Joan Gabel as the University’s next president. He was clearly proud of the presidential search process, which was conducted last fall in a transparent and inclusive manner in the face of some stringent statutory requirements. As chair of the Board of Regents, McMillan was responsible for assuring the presidential search produced a dynamic leader who can build on the U’s many past successes.

In an extended question and answer period, McMillan addressed the months-long controversy over calls to remove the names of four former University administrators from campus buildings. He believes the board could have done better in its handling of the matter, and that the U needs to develop and implement better processes for addressing such situations which, undoubtedly, will occur in the future. 

He also expressed a good deal of optimism for the future, and encouraged us to expect not perfection from the board but honesty and great effort to serve the U community. 

The event was a great success because of McMillan’s forthrightness. As noted in UMRA’s May 2019 newsletter, he is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and the U Law School, and his family proudly includes a very large number of U graduates. Our thanks to him. 

—Bill Donohue, chair, Program Committee, and president-elect

Publication date: 
May 28, 2019
At A Glance
Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Living Well Workshop
11:00 am

Ted Bowman, author and consultant
Resilient coping: Facing life course realities plus a pandemic and community upheaval 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

UMRA Forum
12 noon

Medaria Arradondo, chief
Minneapolis Police Department
Greg Hestness, UMRA member and U of M assistant vice president for public safety and police chief, retired

The University of Minnesota Retirees Association’s response to COVID-19 developments is aligned with the University's Safe Campus guidelines. 

Accordingly, these events will be held via Zoom.