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Regents appoint Eric Kaler president of the U

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents today voted to appoint Eric Kaler the institution’s next president. The unanimous vote capped two days of public appearances by Kaler, who is currently provost at Stony Brook University in New York.

Kaler will become the U of M’s 16th president when Robert Bruininks steps down in June 2011.

Community members had previously expressed concern because Kaler’s was the only name put forth by the regents as a finalist for the job, after a private search. But public and university response to Kaler, 54, has been overwhelmingly favorable so far.

During an open forum last night members of the university community laughed, nodded and murmured their approval to virtually every answer Kaler gave to more than an hour of detailed questions.

He appeared in a maroon and gold tie and displayed an impressive command of the university system and its challenges. He also talked about his time as a U of M student; Kaler received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the university in 1982. 

Look for a more detailed account of his personality and thoughts in this space Friday morning. Anyone interested in hearing the president-designate himself can find archived footage of several appearances online here.

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