Kaler starts work at U of M, hits parade scene on 4th

MPR Photo/Jeff Thompson

Kaler's welcome: a shutdown, a tough budget, and a parade.

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Today is Eric Kaler's first day on the job as president of the University of Minnesota.

What a welcome.  Kaler takes over the same day as the state government shuts down.  Plus he's unsure of his school's state funding for next year because of the budget impasse at the Capitol.

The U will operate normally under the shutdown using reserve funds to cover the loss in state funding. That means classes and research will go on as planned, and hospitals and clinics will remain open. The U normally receives about $50 million from the state a month.  If the shutdown lingers into the fall, Kaler says he'll need to rethink how the institution continues to keep the lights on.

Later today on Minnesota Public Radio News I'll have a story on the challenges Kaler faces in his new job.

Meanwhile this holiday weekend, Kaler and his wife Karen get a chance to introduce themselves to the public when they take part in Delano's 4th of July parade.  According to the city's website, Delano's parade is the largest and oldest in the state.