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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Spring 2011 TODAY Column

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Centered on Big Ideas
 Spring is a particularly beautiful time at Minnesota State Mankato, especially after the long, white winter we’ve endured this year. It’s wonderful to see green shoots of grass breaking through the brown earth and to watch the leaves unfurl all over campus. For a few breathtaking days, we’re treated to fragrant pink blossoms on the trees along many of our walkways.
Although they are much less obvious to the casual observer, big ideas are also springing up all over campus. They were out in full force during the first week of April, when scholarly collaborations between students and faculty were presented at the Undergraduate Research Conference. A week later, more big ideas broke forth at the Third Annual Graduate Research Conference, which spotlighted the outstanding work completed by some of our more than 2,000 graduate students. Both of those conferences are concrete examples of how both students and faculty are applying real-world thinking to ideas that may change the world.
I also see big ideas taking shape in the more than 20 centers, institutes, and other research- and service-based organizations housed or hosted at Minnesota State Mankato. These centers are incubators of very big, very ambitious ideas that have the potential to impact our local campus community as well as the wider world. From the renewable energy solutions pursued by IRETI MN (part of the Center of Renewable Energy) to the nursing fellowships offered by the Glen Taylor Nursing Institute for Family and Society, Minnesota State Mankato is cultivating innovation and change.
The University is devoting considerable resources to supporting and sustaining those endeavors and will continue to do so in the future. I invite you also to consider supporting the big ideas germinating here at Minnesota State Mankato and the real-world thinking that leads to global solutions. With your help, our impact can be even wider and greater.
You can start by visiting, to see what other alumni and friends have given and how their support is making a difference for students, faculty, and the community. You can also follow the University on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of news and events, and you can make plans to visit campus sometime soon. I guarantee that you’ll be impressed by the facilities that are new and in progress, the energy of our record high student enrollment, and the work underway in classrooms, labs, and offices everywhere you look.
In the meantime, please join me in welcoming spring back to campus, and in celebrating the big ideas that are growing at a rapid rate. Thank you for being a part of this great, dynamic university.
President Richard Davenport