ST. PAUL — With some pomp and not too much circumstance, the University of Minnesota on Friday inaugurated Joan Gabel as its 17th president.
Gabel, the first woman to lead the university, took office in July. She aimed to underspend her $250,000 inauguration budget by planning a relatively low-key affair.
Gabel said formality is not her style, and she wanted to demonstrate good stewardship of the university system's money. The format also enabled livestreaming so all five campuses could watch.
Friday began with a brief installation ceremony in the Board of Regents meeting room at McNamara Alumni Center.
Gabel and the regents wore robes. A brass band played. The president received a medallion and the ceremonial mace first used in 1960.
Gov. Tim Walz, the father of a Gopher freshman, spoke with the loaned flags of Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations standing behind him.
“It’s important at a land grant institution to remember who granted that land,” he said.
Walz called the University of Minnesota “the beating heart of Minnesota and the success of it.”
Previously a provost at the University of South Carolina, the 51-year-old Gabel pledged a commitment to excellence in research, finding solutions for the state and making the schools affordable and accessible.