Doing the Most Good for Others

Celebrating Dean Coleman's transformative tenure in CLA
Dean Coleman wearing academic regalia and smiling during College Day 2022
"You are getting the education you need to become a future-oriented leader. You will find your place here. And you belong here."—Dean John Coleman, College Day 2022
Dean Coleman listens as a student presents their research
"This event celebrates one of the programs that I’m most proud of at our College. The Dean's First-Year Research and Creative Scholars Program is a signature educational experience at CLA. The program is unique — it’s the first of its kind in the Big 10 and is also the only one of its kind at the University of Minnesota." —Dean John Coleman, First-Year Research and Creative Scholars Program Fall Reception, 2018
Dean Coleman shakes the hand of alumni awardee Sandra Larson
"You, our alumni, live out the promise and the value of a liberal arts education. Across every field and by every measure, you excel. You do work that makes a meaningful difference in your community and that improves the lives of many."—Dean John Coleman, Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner, 2022
Dean Coleman addresses a crowd of friends during the college's 150th anniversary celebration
"The work we’ve done this year and in previous years means another 150 years of Gopher pride and alumni traditions. Another 150 years of cutting-edge research and creativity and outstanding instruction. Another 150 years of mentoring generations of scholars, entrepreneurs, and leaders in every field. Another 150 years of liberal arts education for the betterment of individuals, communities, and future generations."—Dean John Coleman, 150th Closing Event 2019
Dean Coleman engaging in conversation during the Collage Concert Reception
"Art provides one way to break through the groupthink and the ideological bubbles that consume us. Art can bring us together and soothe us. It can lead to new ways of seeing. It can shatter the usual lines: in assessing and understanding art, we may find ourselves agreeing with those with whom we normally disagree and disagreeing with those with whom we normally agree. That’s a gift brought to us by the arts."—Dean John Coleman, Collage Concert Reception 2022
Dean Coleman and a student talking in his office
"Our obligation to our communities, as part of our land grant mission, is to graduate students who are ready to thrive in their careers and ready to thrive in their civic and community life."—Dean John Coleman
Dean Coleman prepares for a video interview during the Pillsbury Hall Grand Opening
“As The Liberal Arts Engagement Hub's new home, Pillsbury Hall will serve as a dynamic space where University members can learn from and partner with the external community. We hope Pillsbury can serve as a friendly front door to the U of M where people can enjoy classes, workshops, listening sessions, exhibitions and lectures, around critical topics of shared interest.”—Dean John Coleman, Pillsbury Hall Grand Reopening 2021

On April 19, College of Liberal Arts Dean John Coleman announced that he will be leaving the University of Minnesota to become Vice Chancellor and Provost at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dean Coleman has served as CLA's dean for nine remarkable years, focusing his efforts on four key areas: ensuring that CLA alumni are the most desirable graduates available, relentlessly focusing on research and creative excellence, advancing diversity to mirror the community at large, and deepening a culture of engagement for CLA's alumni, community, and state.

Dean Coleman has served both CLA and the University with distinction. As CLA dean, he has further advanced the excellence of the largest and most academically diverse college within the University of Minnesota system, including research and creative work; student success; and public engagement. His national, local, and University leadership has positioned the college strongly for the future.

Provost Rachel T.A. Croson

During his tenure, Dean Coleman emphasized a commitment to being the best in the world and the best for the world, to transforming lives and doing the most good for others. He proudly claimed the mantle that "the liberal arts are front page news"—uniquely situated to talk about, analyze, and propose solutions to the problems that dominate our headlines. He also championed the liberal arts as connectors, bridging together disciplines and sets of knowledge to build empathy, democracy, and community.

Dean Coleman's vision of CLA as "the opportunity college," a place where students, staff, and faculty come together to transform lives and build more just futures, has resulted in several meaningful, long-lasting accomplishments.

Under his leadership, CLA has:

    “It has been my great fortune to work with such wonderful people in the college, to collaborate with great leaders at the college and unit levels, and to engage with our community of alumni, donors, and friends who are passionate about the liberal arts. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you to ensure we expand opportunity and we enhance impact through the vital work of the liberal arts and through the first-rate research, education, and engagement of this marvelous college.”

    John Coleman, Dean

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