September 27, 2023

Inside This Issue
  • Share your ‘Dear Minnesota’ story.
  • Features: Never give up; Every second counts.
  • Awards and Recognition: The Clinical and Translational Science Institute has received $53.9 million in NIH funding; and more.
Top News

Share your ‘Dear Minnesota’ story

A baby in U of M gear

The U of M System is working to make the lives of Minnesotans better and the state healthier. Through personal messages as well as stories on healthy aging, water quality, K-12 education, renewable energy, and more, the University is celebrating its connection with the people of Minnesota. Explore “Dear Minnesota” and share your own story.


Never give up

Ethan Li on the shore of a beach in winter

By the time Margaret MacMillan first met Ethan Li, then age 12, he’d spent the previous month with unexplained bruising, a low platelet count, and nosebleeds. He’d also received two bone marrow biopsies—and the second one yielded a diagnosis of aplastic anemia, a rare blood condition. Learn how expert care and an indomitable spirit helped young Ethan Li conquer the rare disease that nearly took his life.


Every second counts

John Sauer and his wife hugging

On Aug. 11, 2022, John Sauer and his wife, Kris Waters, had just wrapped up a leisurely hike around the scenic greenspace near their home in Chanhassen. Sauer stayed outside to mow the lawn and then came indoors to cool down with a glass of water on the couch in the living room. Seconds later, he was on the brink of death. With timely intervention from his wife and a first-of-its-kind ER-on-wheels, Sauer survived one of medicine’s most dire scenarios.


Awards and Recognition

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute has received $53.9 million in NIH funding to find better, faster ways to bring scientific advances to real-world use; the U of M and the Minnesota Department of Health have been awarded $17.5 million to help develop a national outbreak response network; Global Programs and Strategy Alliance has announced the fall 2023 Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Cohort; Hilal Isler is a recipient of the Loft Literary Center’s 2023 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers in the creative prose category; Douglas Kearney's book Optic Subwoof has won the Poetry Foundation’s Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism; U in the News features highlights of University faculty and staff cited in the media.

Awards and Recognition

U-Wide News

Call for nominations: Systemwide University awards

Nomination instructions and due dates are available for the systemwide McKnight Awards and Distinguished Teaching Awards. Learn more about University awards and see nomination instructions.

Request for proposals: Global Engagement Grants

Global Engagement Grant applications are now open to U of M faculty, staff, and graduate students. These grants, ranging from $1,500 to $15,000, support novel approaches to global health that align with the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility’s values of mutual collaboration, equity, and sustainability. The deadline to apply is Oct. 30.

Fungi’s hidden role in the Emerald Ash Borer crisis

Two emerald ash borers rest on a penny

What makes Emerald Ash Borer beetles so deadly to Minnesota’s ash trees? New research from the Department of Plant Pathology indicates that certain fungi play a role in the accelerated damage to ash, but fungi are also a promising potential solution.



Cover crops improve soil health, even on a small scale

Soil health thrives when we can keep living roots in the soil. While many of the resources available to help growers navigate cover crops are aimed at larger farms, you can use cover crops at any scale.

Research Brief: Contaminants of emerging concern impact fish health in Minnesota waters

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa discovered fish from 18 out of 19 testing sites in northern Minnesota contained contaminants of emerging concern such as pharmaceuticals, hormones, and personal care products. See additional recent Research Briefs.

Talking climate-ready forests with U of M

Drought, flooding, and higher temperatures associated with climate change are all factors prompting University of Minnesota experts to think about the future of our forests. U of M Extension foresters recently published multiple regional lists of trees and plants recommended for a climate-resilient future. Extension educator Angela Gupta answers questions about these lists and the future of our forests. See more editions of "Talking with U of M."

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity workshops at the U of M

The Office for Equity and Diversity's Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy and the Office for Faculty and Academic Affairs are hosting free in-person National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity workshops throughout the 2023-24 academic year. Workshops are open to all faculty, graduate students, and postdocs.

Register for the Equity and Diversity Breakfast

Registration for the Nov. 15 Equity and Diversity Breakfast, sponsored by the Office for Equity and Diversity, will open on Oct. 10. The event, featuring keynote speaker David Treuer, will recognize systemwide recipients of diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity awards.

Oct. 17 - Health Sector Leaders Consortium

The Business Advancement Center for Health at the Carlson School will host its Health Sector Leaders Consortium. Six industry leaders will discuss trends, innovations, and challenges in healthcare, fostering collaboration with passionate students, staff, and faculty. The event aims to spark business-driven innovations for greater health equity. A networking reception will follow. Registration is required.


U of M Crookston ranked No. 3 public regional college by U.S. News & World Report

Two crookston students walk across campus

The University of Minnesota Crookston was recognized among top public regional colleges in the 2023-24 rankings recently released by U.S. News & World Report. U of M Crookston was named No. 3 in Top Public Schools-Regional Colleges Midwest, No. 32 in Regional Colleges Midwest, and No. 26 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.


U of M Crookston announces summer graduates

a pen resting on a table

The University of Minnesota Crookston Office of the Registrar has announced the official list of summer 2023 graduates. Students completed their degree requirements and degrees were conferred on July 28.


‘Office Hours’ with Jodie Reik

Jodie Reik in a large yellow joke top hat and sunglasses

In this episode of “Office Hours,” UMD talks with Jodie Reik, a professor of early childhood education. Reik’s research shows that play is critical to learning, and kids do best when they play often. “Children are born to explore the world, and they typically do that through play,” says Reik.



Oct. 6-14 - The Spitfire Grill

graphic reading Spitfire Grill with 3 eggs frying in a pan

UMD’s theatre department will perform James Valqc and James Alley’s musical adaptation of the hit 1996 film The Spitfire Grill. The story follows Percy, a woman with a shadowy past who shows up at Gilead, Wisconsin’s lone diner, looking for a job. The show’s folk-inflected songs weave a tale of redemption, perseverance, and family. Marshall Performing Arts Center.


U of M Morris awarded NEH grant

Briggs library sign and building

The U of M Morris Rodney A. Briggs Library has been awarded a Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant will support a general preservation assessment of the materials held in the Archives and Special Collections, which share a space in Briggs Library.



Sept. 28 - Fall Research Showcase

The fall Research Showcase celebrates student scholarly achievement and creative activities that took place during the summer by students from all disciplines. Opening remarks take place at 11 a.m., Oyate Hall.  

Sept. 30 - Saddle Club alumna demonstration

U of M Morris alumna Christy Sontag-Brasuhn ’12 will give a demonstration of new technology and take time to visit with anyone interested. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saddle Club barn for the veterinary demonstration; conversation in 101 Imholte Hall.


UMR launches Campus and Climate Action Planning with community partners

University of Minnesota Rochester’s Campus and Climate Action Planning process launched on Sept. 13. The plan will support UMR's commitment to student success and innovation with a phased approach to creative facilities expansion. The Campus and Climate Action Plan that results from this process is scheduled to be shared with the University’s Board of Regents in June 2024.

Destination Medical Center’s annual meeting features U of M Rochester

two umr students and a mascot stand behind a U of M Rochester table

U of M Rochester was featured at this year’s Destination Medical Center annual meeting. Student leaders highlighted key projects and initiatives including UMR’s continued contribution to the vibrancy of the Rochester community and the distinctive role UMR students play in the future of health care in this city and state.

Twin Cities

Dinkytown past, present, future

Black and white photo of dinkytown streetcar

Dinkytown has undergone a construction boom, mostly in large buildings for student housing, but the buildings at the intersection of Fourth Street and 14th Avenue still have the bones of what stood there a century ago, thanks to being designated a historic district by the City of Minneapolis in 2015. Members of the grassroots organization Preserving Historic Dinkytown believe passionately that the neighborhood’s unique history is not only worth preserving, but central to its future.

The classroom is alive

Students playing baseball on the Northrop Mall

Gary Johnson, a retired professor who taught urban and community forestry at the U of M for 31 years, is heading up an initiative called the Campus Arboretum. The Twin Cities campus—which includes the East Bank, West Bank, and St. Paul—is full of natural beauty, he says, so why not draw attention to the plant communities that give it a sense of place?


A new formula for chemistry

a chemistry lab black and white photo from 1932

The state’s 2023 bonding bill provided nearly $93 million toward the transformation of Fraser Hall on the East Bank into a 117,000-square-foot modern chemistry teaching laboratory. The revamp of Fraser Hall and the chemistry department will bring tools that set up students across the University for success, including first- and second-year students from nearly every U of M Twin Cities college.


Announcing (In)Justice: A two-year public event series from the IAS

abstract art of speakers situated within what appears to be explosive paint

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) has announced the launch of (In)Justice, a series dedicated to exploring different ideas of what justice might look like. For the next two years, IAS will bring together community leaders, scholars, artists, and activists to discuss the most pressing issues of our time. All events are free and open to the public.


Featured events

A selection of WAM artwork available to rent

Sept. 27-29 - Northrop Presents: Ayodele Casel Rooted

Through Sept. 28 - WAM Art Rental Gallery

Sept. 28 - Flu Vaccination Clinic

Sept. 28 - Caroline Levine: "The Activist Humanist"

Sept. 29 - ChatGPT in Classroom Environments: Early Adopter Experiences

Oct. 3 - How Facility Bias Affects People with Disabilities

Oct. 5 - Urban Cadence opening party at the Weisman

Oct. 6 - GenoFest: Genomics Center open house

Oct. 10 - 2023 Kerlan Awards honoring Laurie Hertzel and Lauren Stringer

Through Oct. 31 - Scarecrows in the Gardens | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

See the full Events Calendar