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U of M president enjoyed the county fair

To the Editor:
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure to attend the McLeod County Fair. It was a great opportunity to visit with and listen to many proud McLeod County residents, and to share with them the impact of the University of Minnesota on your communities and the upward trajectory of the university.
Thank you to state Reps. Glenn Gruenhagen and Dean Urdahl for sharing their valuable time with me at the fair. I am always thankful for the opportunity to visit your local communities and hear directly from our elected officials about their concerns and visions for the university. I look forward to building on our partnership with them in the 2017 legislative session.
By all measures, the University of Minnesota is among the nation’s Top Ten public research universities — with top-notch students, world-class faculty and groundbreaking discoveries. Some impressive statistics about McLeod County’s relationship to the university demonstrate our impact on the citizens of your communities.  
More than 200 of our university students across our five campuses are McLeod County area high school  graduates and about 830 of our alumni work, live and lead in your communities. For example, 30 medical school grads provide top-notch health care in your communities, as do 19 School of Dentistry grads and 13 of our College of Pharmacy alumni. By the way, we educate more than 70 percent of all the health-care providers, including nurses, in the state, and we have a number of health-provider affiliation agreements with clinics in your county. Moreover, 84 grads of our College of Education and Human Development are leaders in your schools and social service agencies.
Of course, McLeod County has a wonderful 4-H program, which is a key part of our University’s Extension program and of your fair. I like to say 4-H programs are the first classes young Minnesotans take at the university, and McLeod County’s kids are no exception. We’re proud of that.
As we do across all 87 of the state’s counties, the university has great impact on the lives, education, and prosperity of McLeod County residents, young and old. Thank you, McLeod County for all you do to support the University of Minnesota, and it was a pleasure attending your county fair.
Eric W. Kaler
University of Minnesota