University of Minnesota “Driven” to Raise 4 Billion Dollars



Wyatt Beito

The McNamara Alumni center courtyard was an eventful place at noon on Friday. Balloons, free lunch, pavilions and protesters were all gathered as President Kaler of the University of Minnesota made his speech,

“Moments ago at the board of regents meeting we announced the launch of Driven, the University of Minnesota Campaign. This is only the third time in our history that we are conducting a University-wide fundraising campaign that supports our Students on our five campuses, our faculty, the community, the staff, and the University’s ability to change lives throughout Minnesota and around the world. It is a unified effort on all of our Campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities to raise private support for our wonderful public university, support that not only helps individual students but will help us better deliver on our mission and our promise to every single Minnesota citizen.

“We have set a Driven campaign goal of raising 4 billion dollars for the community. That is a big goal but it clearly demonstrates our ambition and shows our commitment to doing more and doing better for our neighbors across the street and around the globe. Before I go into the details of our campaign, I do want to pause for a moment and acknowledge the needs of others in our country. They are great and they are many. Just look at the headlines and know our thoughts and concerns are with those who are facing all kinds of adversity and suffering. Well, it is this fundamental concern for others and our students, our state, the nation and the world that is at the core of this campaign. It is our concern and our belief that we owe it to the world to use our expertise to find a solution to our overwhelming grand challenges and pursue learning and discovery that transforms lives and saves lives. That’s what this ‘Driven’ campaign is all about, about supporting our students conducting game changing research and engaging fully with communities to make this a better place to live.

“So here are the ‘Driven’ campaign priorities. For one, the University will continue to be a force for change as we drive a Minnesota plan for innovation. For students faculty and industry partners, the U is an important center of the invention where collaborations parse new ideas, launches new businesses, and produces new jobs and talent. We will tap some of that knowledge to protect and sustain agriculture food and water. Our University footprint serves as a microcosm of our world. With UMD on America’s greatest lake, with our Twin Cities campuses on its greatest river, and with our Morris and Crookston campuses on our greatest prairies. That enables us to improve food safety and security, to protect our natural resources like water, soil, energy, and biodiversity while minimizing the impact of climate change. Our campaign will also help us accelerate advances in health. More than 70 percent of all health care workers in Minnesota are trained by the U campus and we have the state’s only schools of dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. Our long history of medical first and interdisciplinary collaboration provide better treatment and quality of life for all Minnesotans and path breaking research that saves lives all over the world.

“We are also ‘Driven’ to provide a place of opportunity for everyone. We will advocate for equity, justice, and opportunity through law of public affairs and political science and will work to close Minnesota’s achievement gap and enrich our shared quality of life by bringing the arts into communities statewide.”

After the preceding statement, protestors began to jeer and chant holding signs which read “Living wage now!” and “Teamsters Local 320,” presumably because the University is not participating in the city of Minneapolis’s steep minimum wage hike.

Kaler continued despite the protest, “And last, and this is my top priority, is elevating a world class student experience. That doesn’t mean fancy dorms, that means more deserving students from Minnesota and around the world will receive scholarships and fellowships. More students will have the chance to study abroad and volunteer. And that means philanthropy will help more students benefit from real world experiences and hands on learning that prepares them for productive lives after college. Students remain at the core of our mission, we transform their lives so they can transform our communities, our state, and the world. As we unveil our campaign to all of you today, we know that our neighbors our community and our corporate partners believe what we do in service to Minnesota can help change the world. And they have shown that by already committing over 2.5 billion dollars towards our 4 billion ‘Driven’ goal.”

He briefly departed from his remarks to introduce several members of the greater Minneapolis community before concluding his speech.

“The last time we launched a campaign in the public was 18 years ago in 1999. Perhaps it is no coincidence that our freshmen this year in most cases were born in 1999. And they benefit from a legacy of the Universities last campaign just as the next generation will benefit from ‘Driven.’ That’s why we are doing this, that’s why ‘Driven’ is about generosity, possibility, and looking forward.”