The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

Walz, Gabel discuss University’s ‘bold’ 2022 budget request

Mon, February 14 2022, 3pm

On Valentine’s Day 2022, Governor Tim Walz spoke to the University of Minnesota Retirees Association for a special forum that also featured University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel. 

In his prepared remarks and his discussion with the president that followed, the governor was clear that the University is one of the bedrocks of the state, and that he supports policy and funding that enhance the University. In particular, he cited the work of scientists from the University and Mayo for the “Minnesota Moonshot,” which provided a strong, science-based response to the coronavirus pandemic in our state. He said the response was not by luck or chance but by design, citing President Gabel’s mantra of “success by design.” 

Walz is the first governor to speak to the UMRA membership. He expressed his gratitude for the Retirees Association and our members’ lifelong work and devotion to the University.

President Gabel then engaged in conversation with the governor about the University’s budget request this year [see links to 2022 Capital Request Summary and FY23 Supplemental Budget Summary, below], and issues facing both the University and the state. Gabel said that in light of the state’s projected $7.7 billion budget surplus, the University has made a bold request for more than $900 million in funding to support many projects, including a new agricultural research center in Mower County, a new health sciences building in Duluth, enhanced scholarship funds, and many maintenance projects that have been deferred for years. 

Walz said he supports this bold request and included it in his proposal to the legislature. He regards these budget documents as not just numbers but as moral documents that express our values. It was clear he values education.

Novel and challenging times

In response to Gabel’s questions, Walz said the first order of business in Minnesota is recovery from the pandemic and moving in positive directions to address the excess of division in our communities. He expressed concern about crime, racial division, and inequality. He also said he believes that partisan politics have no place in the University and should be avoided.

It was obvious that Walz is a proponent of the University and appreciative of President Gabel’s leadership [see link to Points of Pride, below]. Both Walz and Gabel started their current positions in 2019 and have had to deal with novel and challenging times.

Following their discussion, President Gabel was joined by UMRA members Bill Donohue, retired general counsel; Bob Bruininks, University president from 2002 to 2011; and Frank Cerra, who was vice president for health sciences from 1996 to 2011. They engaged in a lively and informative exchange with a good deal of emphasis on the current budget request. 

Bruininks and Cerra both emphasized the need for personal contact by University representatives to build relationships and trust as well as to educate legislators about the University. 

The event was well attended by our membership and a rare treat on a cold February day. If you missed the special forum, or would like to see it again, watch the video recording of the webinar posted on YouTube. 

—Bill Donohue, UMRA past-president

Event recording
Click on , then    to view recording in full screen.




Special Forum with Governor Tim Walz and President Joan Gabel

Mon, February 14 2022, 3pm
Tim Walz
Governor of Minnesota

Event to be held via Zoom.

We are pleased to announce that Governor Tim Walz and University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel will join us at 3 p.m. on Monday, February 14, for an exclusive UMRA forum via Zoom.

The governor will share his perspectives on higher education and the University for the upcoming legislative session, as well as his own views on the University as a state institution.  

After the governor's remarks, President Gabel will engage him in a question-and-answer session. Due to time constraints on his schedule, Governor Walz will be with us for only 20 minutes. 

We are excited to hear directly from Governor Walz about the University and hope you can make it to this unique event. Please register for this Zoom webinar and join us.

Following their discussion, President Gabel will be joined by Bob Bruininks and Frank Cerra for a panel discussion on the relationship of the University and the Legislature, and how that relationship can be improved and fostered.

Email Bill Donohue if you would like to suggest questions in advance for the governor or the panel.

—Jan Morlock, UMRA president 

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, short bio

Tim Walz is Minnesota’s 41st Governor. Born in a small town in rural Nebraska, he enlisted in the Army National Guard soon after high school graduation. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, respectively, from Chadron State College and Minnesota State University, Mankato. Harvard University offered him an opportunity to gain perspective on global education by teaching in the People’s Republic of China from 1989–90. In 1996, he began teaching social studies at Mankato West High School. In addition to teaching, he helped coach the Mankato West football team that won the school’s first state championship. Walz won his first election to the United States House of Representatives in 2006, and was re-elected for another five terms, serving Minnesota’s First Congressional District. A member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Walz assumed office as the governor on January 7, 2019.

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