Keeping a Dream Alive and Thriving
Eric Klinger, professor emeritus of psychology, and his wife, Karla, retired director of advising, have watched the University of Minnesota, Morris grow with what Professor Klinger describes as “parental
devotion.” The Klingers arrived at Morris in 1962. Eric became the first full-time faculty member in the Psychology Discipline, and Karla joined
him as a staff member in 1974, ultimately serving as director of advising. Having spent 44 years in service to the University and having seen the campus transform from a coordinate campus in its infancy to a nationally renowned public liberal arts college, the two share an incredibly strong
attachment to Morris.
“We arrived at a time when the University of Minnesota, Morris was more of a vision for the future than a reality,” says Professor Klinger. “What it was, really, was a fantasy. Now UMM is a dream that has come true, which doesn’t always happen. Our history with the University is a large part of why we have and will continue to support it financially.”
Faithful supporters of the Morris campus, the Klingers give in order to strengthen the missions they hold dear. As the former director of advising—first in Continuing Education and then within UMM—Karla is particularly interested in individualizing education and making the resources of the University available to students of all ages. Her giving interest, therefore, resides in the outreach and advising dimensions of
the institution. An adamant supporter of Morris’s research mission, Professor Klinger is intent on seeing it continue to grow. Fearing that budget cuts and demands on faculty could negatively impact the campus’s ability to offer research opportunities, Professor Klinger gives in order to provide resources and incentives that will facilitate meaningful research.
“The lack of opportunity to do research, which feeds into so many other things, would be a huge loss—not only to science, but to students, too.”
Professor Klinger’s vested interest in research stems from his conviction that it reaches far beyond the classroom. Believing that research opportunities have the power not only to enhance the undergraduate experience, but also to contribute to the success of students later in life, he sees these opportunities as an integral component of an effective
educational experience. This belief inspires him to support Morris’s research mission. By doing so, he is enabling the University to remain an effective and relevant learning institution.
“Morris is producing future leaders, future educators, and future entrepreneurs. That starts with providing an excellent education and experience. What larger goals could we have than education and research?”