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CLA Capital Campaign Kickoff Remarks

November 4, 2017

(Remarks delivered at public launch of Shattering Expectations: The Campaign for the College of Liberal Arts, November 4, 2017)

Thank you all!

Tonight has been extraordinary.

Let’s have another round of applause for our performers as well as our guests who have shared their powerful stories.

I hope tonight has indeed shattered your expectations about our college and campaign.

Earlier tonight you heard that through this campaign we seek to become a destination college. And that’s true. But this vision is not just about CLA.

As the home of the humanities, arts, and social sciences we are uniquely suited to tackling the most pressing problems facing individuals and societies today. As you’ve heard tonight, from opportunity gaps to helping individuals thrive, CLA is facing these challenges head-on.

So, yes, we aim to be a destination college, but a destination college with a very defined purpose: to do the most good we can for others. The better we are at our work, the better our research, the more ready our graduates, the greater good we can do.

At the beginning of the night, President Kaler said he couldn’t imagine a world without the liberal arts.

But for a moment, let’s do just that.

Imagine a world dominated by texts, abbreviations, and emojis, but without the study of language, or writing, or public speaking.

Imagine a world in crisis without an understanding of political science or psychology.

Imagine nations facing financial collapse without the knowledge of economics.

Imagine our community in search of meaning and beauty without music, theater, dance or art.

Imagine democracies seeking to thrive without an awareness of history and philosophy.

That would be a society without the liberal arts.

CLA is here to enrich, educate, and connect.

Through this campaign, we’re not only trying to shatter your expectations of us, we hope to help you shatter your own expectations for what you can accomplish — as a student, as an organization, as a business, as a community, as a leader. We’re driven to help you achieve your goals and to support our communities and help them thrive. 

That’s why we’re here tonight. And that’s what this campaign is all about. Bringing the gifts of the liberal arts to ever more people and communities here in Minnesota and around the world.

I hope tonight has inspired you and has helped you learn more about who CLA is, what we do -- and what we hope to do in the future.

[Here, I shared a story about a student I met during my first weeks in CLA in 2014 and the student's appreciation for the faculty and staff and the help and support he received.]

Thank you once again for joining us on such a wonderful night. It’s been a great honor to share this evening with all of you.

To conclude, it’s my pleasure to introduce the School of Music one more time.

Thank you and good night!