Case Western Reserve University selects Eric W. Kaler as new president

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Former University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler has been named the new Case Western Reserve University.

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“Our university’s growing momentum attracted an exceptional pool of candidates,” Board Chair Fred DiSanto said in a news release. “But Eric’s unique combination of intellect, accomplishments, and authenticity ultimately made him our unanimous choice to become Case Western Reserve’s next president.”

Kaler will replace Barbara Snyder, CWRU’s first woman president, who in her 12-year tenure eliminated a $19-million deficit, added campus buildings and helped raise $1.82 billion in donations to its “Thinking Forward” capital plan. Snyder will lead the American Association of Universities.

An accomplished chemical engineer, Kaler led the the University of Minnesota with unprecedented growth in research, fundraising and graduation rates. He was also part of the research progress that led to a state partnership known as MnDRIVE (Minnesota Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy). Kaler holds 10 patents and has been published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers. He is also a member and fellow of several academies including the National Academy of Engineering.

The $18 million program helped to fund research areas that aligned with industry needs and statewide challenges. Topics included robotics and advanced manufacturing, the environment, treatments for brain conditions, and, later, a statewide clinical trials network for cancer (which added $4 million per year to the allocation).

Initially, Kaler didn’t want to leave the area after stepping down as president in 2019. But after learning more about CWU, he became intrigued.

“There is a tremendous fit,” Kaler said. “Once I looked, I got more excited… [and thought] I’m really made for this job.”

David McMillan, a current regent and former chair of its board, attributes Kaler’s success in launching MnDRIVE and other initiatives were two primary factors.

“He had that kind of big-picture vision,” McMillan said in a news release.

Kaler is married to his wife, Karen, and has two adult sons —Charlie and Sam— and a nearly 4-year-old granddaughter, Ophelia.

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