MORRIS, Minnesota -University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler will serve as the 2019 Commencement speaker at the University of Minnesota Morris on Saturday, May 18.

President Kaler is the 16th president of the University of Minnesota. In this role, he has focused on academic excellence; affordability; diversity and a welcoming, respectful campus climate; a world-class research enterprise that aligns with the needs of the citizens and industries of Minnesota; and a deep commitment to public engagement and outreach, locally and globally. Kaler will finish his service as president on June 30.

"We are honored that President Kaler has accepted our students' invitation to speak at this year's Commencement ceremony," says Chancellor Michelle Behr. "As our president, he has been a champion for students and our campus, and his commitment to serving the people of Minnesota mirrors ours and that of our graduates."

Among other leadership activities, President Kaler is past chair of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors. He was co-founder of Generation Next, a coalition of Twin Cities-area civic, business, and education leaders united to help close the achievement and opportunity gaps in Minneapolis and St. Paul area schools.

In 2010, President Kaler was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. From 2012-2017, he was a member of the US Department of Homeland Security Academic Adisory Council. In 2013, he was named a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and in 2014, he was named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies.

President Kaler received his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 1982. He went on to become one of the nation's foremost experts on "complex fluids," which have applications in drug delivery, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.

Before coming to the U, President Kaler served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. Previously, he was dean of the University of Delaware's College of Engineering. He also taught at the University of Washington. President Kaler received his undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1978.