Equine arena named in honor of former university chancellor

Michelle Christopherson
University of Minnesota, Crookston

CROOKSTON — The equine arena in the University Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC) on the University of Minnesota Crookston campus will be named the Charles H. Casey Equine Arena in honor of the former chancellor and University of Minnesota regent.

The All-University Honors Committee met and concluded in favor of the nomination by UMN President Emeritus Robert Bruininks, UMN Crookston Chancellor Emeritus Donald Sargeant and current Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause, assistant to the chancellor Judith Neppel and retired and UMN Crookston Athletic Director Stephanie Helgeson. This recommendation, approved by the UMN Board of Regents, was approved last month.

“Dr. Casey has given leadership, commitment and extraordinary service to the University of Minnesota and the state of Minnesota,” said Holz-Clause. “To name the equine arena ... [the] Charles H. Casey Equine Arena is a tribute to his impressive career and a testament to his commitment to the University of Minnesota,” said Holz-Clause.

Casey first built a successful veterinary practice in southeast Minnesota while serving on the school board and many other local leadership positions. During this time, he also served on the Board of Regents and was chair of the board during a time when many difficult decisions needed to be made.

After leaving private practice, he accepted the calling for public employment and first helped to strengthen the University of Minnesota’s veterinary outreach across Minnesota and beyond. When asked to serve as head of the university’s extension program, Casey readily accepted the role and helped to reorganize and re-envision the delivery of programs through a cost-effective regional model. This has become the standard of extension programming across the United States.

Bruinicks chose Dr. Casey to serve as chancellor of the University of Minnesota Crookston in 2006. He came to the campus during a time when trust had been severely affected among various work groups, and he worked to strengthen the academic programs.

While serving as chancellor, Casey was responsible for initiating many programs and areas of excellence, which put the University of Minnesota Crookston not only on the map but improved rankings and stature of the university. The university improved its rankings with the U.S. News and World Report to #1 in 4-Year Regional Universities and achieved Higher Learning Commission North Central Accreditation for the campus. The University of Minnesota Crookston was the first University of Minnesota campus to achieve accreditation for online programs that were first offered under Casey’s leadership.

Casey initiated the university’s joining of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Division II Athletic Conference. This gave the university regional reach and stature. Joining the conference helped to recruit a more diverse student population and provided opportunities for student-athletes to grow and develop.

During his tenure as chancellor, the university saw its largest on-campus student enrollment and developed a strong budget with reserves for leaner times to come. There was a significant growth of philanthropy and scholarships for students in need during his time of service. He also achieved approval and funding for two residence halls and a state-of-the-art wellness center, which all contributed to an enhanced student experience.

Casey brought other resources to the university as chancellor. He helped to establish a rural health and education program, making the University of Minnesota Crookston a regional hub for community vitality, a key distinguishing factor of the university today.

Since leaving the chancellor position, he has continued to be involved with the campus through his generous philanthropy, attendance at events and his willingness to provide support and counsel when requested. Not only does he continue to serve the university, but he is a vital member of his community. He is a member of the Lions International and was heavily involved in the community of Fosston, where he and his wife Barbara Muesing lived until recently.

A celebration in Casey’s honor will be held later this summer on the Crookston campus.

Charles H. Casey
The equine arena in the University Teaching and Outreach Center on the University of Minnesota Crookston Campus will be named the Charles H. Casey Equine Arena in honor of the former university chancellor.