University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler gave the first in a pair of speeches during the lunch period at the Governor’s Job Summit today. In his speech, Kaler focused on the importance of public higher education to economic outcomes in the state.
“We all know job creation starts with an innovation or discovery, and the seeds grow,” Kaler explained. “Innovation and discovery is our business at the University of Minnesota.”
Kaler’s speech focused on demonstrating the vast impact the University of Minnesota has had on the Minnesota economy because of that innovation and discovery. That impact was closely felt. Immediately outside the doors of the hall in which Kaler spoke, in the Job Summit’s adjacent Innovation Hall, 10 of the 13 companies exhibiting had some relation to the University, whether through University of Minnesota grants, commercialized technologies borne out of University of Minnesota research, or startup ventures spearheaded by the University’s graduates.
Kaler outlined how the University is continuing to garner the best and brightest minds in the state, and how continued support from the state and business leaders is inextricably linked to the state’s future well-being. In return, Kaler detailed efforts being undertaken at the University to increase the speed of commercialization for University technologies and improve relationships and interactions with the state’s business community, promising the University would continue to be at the center of the efforts to create a bright future for Minnesota.
Kaler then introduced Michael Mandelbaum, the day’s keynote speaker, who came to the stage with a lot of unique insight. Based on reforms and solutions laid out in his book, “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back,” coauthored with Thomas Friedman, Mandelbaum’s address covered a lot of territory, discussing globalization, information technology, an evolving workforce, educational reform, climate change, and much more.
Though his speech focused on the large challenges present in today’s America, Mandelbaum assured the audience, “I am an optimist.” He closed his remarks by praising the unique qualities that define us as Americans – ingenuity, collaboration, persistence and a commitment to public service. Those qualities have been on display today at the Governor’s Job Summit.