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Make the University of Minnesota’s capital investments a Capitol priority

On New Year’s Day we witnessed thousands of exuberant Gopher alumni and fans cheering their football team to victory in the Outback Bowl. The success of these talented student athletes was fueled by exceptional teamwork, strong leadership, and their ability to train in state-of-the-art facilities that support their performance at the highest level.

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) urges similar teamwork and leadership from our lawmakers to fully fund the University of Minnesota’s capital requests for its academic buildings.

The U of M currently ranks eighth among U.S. public universities in research and generates an estimated $8.6 billion in annual economic impact for Minnesota. More than 300 research, education, and outreach centers and institutes at the university develop technologies and breakthroughs that benefit the state and beyond. Past research out of the university has already led to more than 900 patents and 1,800 licenses for new developments that support Minnesota’s thriving economy.

A strong university also directly impacts the vitality of the state’s workforce. More than 60 percent of the 493,000 Twin Cities campus alumni call Minnesota home. These graduates are our doctors, entrepreneurs, public officials, dentists, veterinarians, social workers, financial advisers and more. Future U of M students will similarly become the backbone of Minnesota’s workforce and power its economy for decades to come.

If we as a state — and Legislature — provide U of M students with the best education possible, we may be encouraging Minnesota’s next Nobel Prize laureate or the founder of another Fortune 500 company.

We thank Gov. Tim Walz for his capital investment proposal that included $224.2 million for the U of M, and ask the Minnesota Legislature to recognize that capital investment in the U of M’s academic facilities is an essential ingredient for a world-class research university where students excel in the classroom, through their research and on the field.

Laura Moret (CLA ’76, Carlson School of Management ’81) serves as chair of the U of M Alumni Association’s Board of Directors (and is a managing director/ associate general counsel at Piper Sandler Companies). Lisa Lewis is the president/CEO of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.

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