Eric Kaler is the only "finalist" for president of the University of Minnesota

Eric Kaler

Eric Kaler

It's tempting to think that there must be a course on language torture at the University of Minnesota. How else could it get away with naming Eric Kaler as the only "finalist" being considered for president of the university, while not actually naming his president?

Turns out there's a good reason: He has to pass a final sniff test from the Board of Regents. Then he's good to go.


Kaler, who went to Cal Tech before earning earning a PhD from the U in 1982, is currently the Provost at Stony Brook University on Long Island, N.Y. Before that, Kaler was dean of the University of Delaware's College of Engineering. He began his tenure in the ivory towers as a professor at the University of Washington.

Kaler was the last guy standing in the selection process, which started out with a pool of 148 applicants that included 44 women and 12 minority candidates.

How Kaler was chosen for the U is a mystery because the public university made the selection process private. Two of the semi-finalists for the job even dropped out near the end because they didn't want their identities published, and the secrecy has been a bone of contention.

He's due on campus for a visit next week. If he wins the post, he'll replace Robert Bruininks, who will step down next summer.

We're imprssed by all his academic credentials, but we have a more pressing issue: Can do something -- anything -- about the embarrassing state of Gophers football once he pulls into town?