The University of Minnesota Morris celebrated the inauguration of Janet Schrunk Ericksen as its seventh chancellor on Thursday, Oct. 26.
University of Minnesota Interim President Jeff Ettinger bestowed the inaugural medallion. He called Ericksen “a valued thought-partner to me, to her fellow chancellors, fellow faculty members, Morris campus leadership, governance groups, and students.”
Ettinger added that Ericksen’s “passion for helping students reach their potential, challenge themselves, and become well-rounded citizens through this liberal arts education is so critical for the leadership of this campus at this time.”
An internationally recognized scholar of medieval literature, Ericksen began her career at UMN Morris in 1998 as an assistant professor of English. Since then she has held a variety of campus leadership roles, including vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean, director of the Honors Program, chair of the Division of the Humanities and interim chair of the Division of the Social Sciences.
In her inaugural address, Ericksen emphasized her deep appreciation for the community and common purpose at UMN Morris:
"I pursued the role of chancellor for this campus because I deeply believe in our mission and in the power of our people, and I think that my history in this place can be of service at this moment in our campus history, when we find ourselves a smaller institution than we have been in recent years. We are small, and we can make much of being so. ... This is a collective effort and a community strength, accomplished both together and individually, and a story to amplify. I need your help to do so, and I ask for a collective dedication to this as a priority, that we unite around this piece of our story. This is everyone’s work and for the common good of this institution. For us it is greatly right to center that for 'vibrancy of what could be.'"
Ericksen is a member of the University of Minnesota Academy of Distinguished Teachers, a recipient of the University of Minnesota Morris Alumni Association Teaching Award, the Horace T. Morse-Minnesota Alumni Association Award and the author of Reading Old English Biblical Poetry (U Toronto Press 2020). She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and art history from the University of Kansas and a master’s and doctorate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with specialization in early medieval English and Old Norse literature.
The University of Minnesota Morris opened its doors in 1960 as the University of Minnesota’s public liberal arts campus. The campus is recognized as one of the nation’s top public liberal arts colleges, one of its greenest campuses, a “best value” in higher education, and the home of a transformative undergraduate education for a talented and diverse student body.