Rosenstone formally steps into MnSCU chancellor role

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Chancellor Steven Rosenstone’s first utterance after formally receiving the chancellor’s medallion was simple but memorable.

“Wow,” said Rosenstone, bearing the medallion and his new leadership role to the podium at a State Capitol installment ceremony held Wednesday, Oct. 19.

The new chancellor, Steven Rosenstone (right), addresses the gathering in the State Rotunda as he formally accepts the reins of the MnSCU system. Gov. Mark Dayton and MnSCU Board of Trustee Chairman Scott Thiss presented the chancellor’s medallion to Rosenstone on Oct. 19.

Rosenstone formally assumed the helm of the 31-institution strong MnSCU system from former chancellor James McCormick, who recently retired.

Former dean of the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, Rosenstone spoke of a commitment to the 430,000 students who each year attend MnSCU colleges and universities.

“To you—our students—I have heard you on tuition and I get it,” said Rosenstone, speaking to the gathering in the Rotunda, a group which included Gov. Mark Dayton, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and others.

Rosenstone spoke of a deep worry about “the darkest cloud in educational sky,” that being the shifting of costs from the  state onto students.

The chancellor went to speak of MnSCU’s commitment to the state workforce, and also of the need for courage as the state struggles to regain its economic footing.

“Courage is not optional; it is essential to our success,” he said.

The ceremony included a welcoming of the new chancellor from representatives of the system’s 31 state colleges and universities. Many of the students wore ethnic garb, spoke languages spoken in the far corners of the earth.

Dayton, in his brief remarks, remarked about the change had that taken place over the last 50 years since he attended school in Minnesota.

Fifty years ago, the diverse contingent of students might have been assumed to be a delegation from the United Nations, Dayton joked. Now they represent the new Minnesota, he explained.

MnSCU Board of Trustee Chairman Scott Thiss offered a glowing assessment of Rosenstone, speaking of the chandelier’s inherent curiosity and tireless sense of exploration.

Geoff Dittberner, Minnesota State College Student Association president, mentioned of the sense of excitement he detected in the chancellor’s voice when first meeting him.

The chancellor literally had his sleeves rolled up, though, admittedly, he had been moving boxes in his office, Dittberner quipped.

Rosenstone spoke of the need for collaboration—of pulling together.

“We are leading at a critical moment in our state’s history,” Rosenstone said. “And as we leave this great hall together, let us do it as partners, with a renewed sense of dedication and a renewed sense of commitment to serve to serve the people of Minnesota.”

By T.W. Budig, ECM Capitol reporter