U of M students ‘excited’ to meet three candidates for new president this week

Students walk across a bridge
Students cross the Washington Avenue bridge on the University of Minnesota campus between classes on Sept. 22, 2023.
Ben Hovland | MPR News file

Updated: Feb. 12, 6:15 a.m.

The search for the University of Minnesota’s new president is picking up this week.

Starting Monday, students will be able to learn more about the three finalists at open houses and campus forums. The three finalists — Laura Bloomberg, Rebecca Cunningham and James Holloway — will share their vision of how they plan to lead as university president.

Bloomberg enters the public interview phase with a background as current president of Cleveland State University. Cunningham brings her experience as a vice president for research at the University of Michigan, while Holloway comes from the University of New Mexico as their provost for academic affairs.

Incoming masters student Dylan Young said he’s planning on attending sessions at the Duluth campus, which begin Tuesday. He’s happy all three candidates have a strong background in higher education and is excited to learn more about them.

“I want a university president who prioritizes our holistic basic needs. Someone who is willing to treat physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and financial health of their students as an integral marker of success in this role,” said Young, a former University of Minnesota Morris student body president.

Young man smiles into a sunset
Dylan Young, enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
Courtesy of Dylan Young

He’s also looking for the next president to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion and collaborative relationships with students.

“They should be someone who feels compelled to visit all campuses and invite students to have face-to-face meaningful conversations about what their vision is for the university at the beginning of that process and then follow up with students regularly to transparently communicate how their voices are shaping that vision,” Young said.

Flora Yang, chair of the student representatives for the Board of Regents, said she’s excited to learn more about the three finalists.

“This incoming president, with their new vision and various expertise, has the power to initiate and champion initiatives that could have a profound positive impact on students as we navigate through our undergraduate, graduate, or professional school careers,” Yang said.

A full schedule of the campus visits can be found here.

Correction (Feb. 12, 2024): Dates for some of the campus visits were incorrect in a previous version of this story. The story has been updated.