Kaler Named University of Minnesota President

The University of Minnesota has named Eric Kaler president just five days following the announcement that he was named the only finalist for the position after two others declined to be part of a publicly identified pool.

The University of Minnesota on Thursday named Eric Kaler to the position of president, just five days after the institution announced that Kaler was the only finalist from a pool of 148 nominees and applicants.

Kaler, 54, currently serves as provost at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. He will replace current U of M President Robert Bruininks, who previously announced plans to leave his post in June 2011 after the academic year ends.

Earlier this week, the university announced that Kaler was the only finalist in the running for the president position.

The U of M's Board of Regents was ready to name three finalists when two of the three declined to be part of a publicly identified pool and dropped out of the running-leaving Kaler as the sole finalist. Minnesota state law requires that the names of presidential finalists be made public.

The vote to approve Kaler came after two days of public meetings with members of the university community, a public forum on Wednesday, and a public interview at the board meeting.

“One thing is very clear about Eric Kaler: The more you get to know him, the clearer this decision becomes,” board Chair Clyde Allen, said in a statement. “The board's impressions-and those of the university community-are that he is a talented researcher and teacher, effective administrator, and gifted communicator. These are all qualities that will serve him well as the next president of the University of Minnesota.”

Kaler, who earned a doctorate degree in chemical engineering from the U in 1982, will be only the second university alumnus to serve as the university's president. Prior to his time as a student at the U, he received an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1978.

A Thursday afternoon phone call to a university representative seeking more information on the appointment was not immediately returned.