I have been taking advantage of the summer sunshine to walk to campus most days, so have had ample time to think about the role that the university plays in this community. And as I make my way across town, I find myself thinking about what it means for the University of Minnesota Morris to be a good neighbor and partner.
Good neighbors look out for one another. They care about one another. And they do what they can to make things better for everybody. Our students, staff, and faculty do the same. Whether supporting the Morris Model team and our Center for Small Towns to ensure a clean, healthy, and sustainable future for our region, or volunteering with the local organizations that make Morris a great place to live, work, and raise a family, we are doing our part to help make our community safe, strong, and happy.
Good neighbors share what they have. They take what they know, put it to work, and pay it forward. We do that, too. We have joined with local partners to build shared facilities like Big Cat Stadium and the RFC, used by the entire community. Our wind turbines generate energy consumed on and off campus. And our students and faculty conduct research with the potential to change all of our lives, asking tough questions to find local solutions to global challenges, like how to end Minnesota’s opioid epidemic and how to keep our drinking water safe.
Good neighbors bring people together. They open their doors and their arms to those around them. And so do we. Our facilities were designed to be gathering places for the entire community, whether for a Performing Arts Series event, a community meal, or a Cougar football game. And, perhaps most importantly, we bring together outstanding students to live and learn in this wonderful place we all call home. Our students come from around the world and our own backyard. And more than a few of them, about 2,000 currently, choose to make their homes locally once they graduate.
I have many hopes for our university. One is that we be, in all things, your good neighbor—dependable, friendly, and welcoming. So we hope to see you around this summer. Whether downtown or at the County Fair, we’ll be out and about all season long. Won’t you join us?