Outlook

University welcomes challenge to prepare students for changing world

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

President Earl H. Potter III

President Earl H. Potter III, here being interviewed by mass communications major Rosio Esparza for the campus television station, UTVS.

Since St. Cloud State University opened in 1869 as a one-building campus, we have been responding to the needs of our state and anticipating the demands of the future – preparing graduates who go out and change our communities for the better.

In the early days, the St. Cloud Normal School had a fundamental mission: educate teachers for the one-room rural and multi-grade city schools where children of farmers, laborers, merchants and professionals learned their reading, writing and arithmetic. Today’s St. Cloud State,with nearly 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students in five academic colleges, has evolved into a comprehensive university that is the pride of its region and the flagship of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

In this and past issues of Outlook, we are pleased to share stories about the people of St. Cloud State who teach and learn and serve with a commitment to excellence. They are faculty who help create innovative programs and inspire students with new ideas and fresh opportunities. They are the students who already demonstrate the passion, skills and ambition that will lead to outstanding contributions in their career fields. They are the alumni and friends whose generosity helps us continue building on our strengths.

Throughout decades of tremendous progress and extraordinary circumstances, including two world wars and a devastating depression, St. Cloud State has provided students with the opportunity to discover and develop their potential. Through times of plenty and times of limited resources, we have remained focused on investing in the future and developing new ways to serve the people of Minnesota and beyond.

Despite changes and advances in our society and our economy that would floor our earliest graduates, after 140 years St. Cloud State remains committed to teaching, learning and service. While we have extended our mission to include our resolve to enhance collaborative relationships in a global community, we maintain our dedication to giving students the tools to help build a better, safer community, state, nation and world.

Steadily we have built on our strengths, expanding our program and course offerings and opening our doors to an increasingly diverse student body. Today we have more than 1,150 international students from 82 countries joining a multicultural population of students from the region, the state and every part of our nation.

As we struggle along with the rest of the world to get our arms around our economic difficulties, we recognize it is vital that we continue being a university where students come to compete in a fluctuating job market. More than ever, we need to think strategically and develop new programs to help the state and its people.

History teaches us it is likely the need and the demand for education will increase as resources decrease. We will welcome a new mix of students to be participants and leaders in the innovative workforce that will be charged with revitalizing our economy. Some will be non-traditional students whose jobs have fallen victim to the struggling economy. Some will be veterans seeking education to enter a new phase of service to their country.

We will be challenged to do more with less, and we will continue to be a campus where students learn what it means to take care of each other and to take care of their communities and their world. We will be a campus where exciting possibilities are all around us because faculty and staff and students continue to find new and better ways to teach and learn.

We will continue to add new programs to meet the needs of the marketplace and retain our strong position in our community and state. And we will continue to welcome an exciting mix of students who will discover their potential and go out into the world prepared to succeed, just as our graduates have for more than 13 decades.


Earl H. Potter III, President

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