Acting Dean Budge Represents MSU in Higher Ed Delegation
Aaron Budge, Acting Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Minnesota State University, Mankato, participated as a member of the Higher Education Delegation of the State of Minnesota Mission to the United Kingdom and Finland led by Governor Tim Walz between 13 and 19 November. The Higher Education group included representatives from the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, the University of St. Thomas, and Concordia University-St. Paul along with representatives from K-12 school districts and private sector participants. The Higher Ed team was led by First Lady Gwen Walz and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Regional Trade Manager and Protocol Officer Rachel Limón. The Higher Ed delegation was one of four delegations from the State of Minnesota, with other groups representing an Agricultural Track, an Environmental Track, and a Medical Technology Track. Governor Walz led the mission and participated with several of the delegations during the week.
The Higher Education delegation met with a number of groups in both London and Helsinki during the mission. Meetings in the United Kingdom included collaborations and discussions with Birkbeck University of London, the UK Department for Education, US Embassy leadership representing the four delegations, Queen Mary University of London, and several Higher Education partners (Fulbright Commission, EducationUSA, Sannam S4, etc.) Connections in Finland included the Fulbright Finland Foundation, US Embassy Helsinki leadership, the Academy of Finland and representatives of the Finnish American Research and Innovation Accelerator (FARIA) Network, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the University of Helsinki, and Aalto University.
The mission has already led to several opportunities for collaboration with respect to student and faculty/staff activities, with additional conversations ongoing. With COVID concerns continuing, members of the delegation participated in COVID testing multiple times prior to and during the course of the mission and appropriate protocols were followed throughout the trip.
In addition to Dr. Budge’s representation of Minnesota State Mankato, First Lady Gwen Walz frequently inserted that her husband (Governor Walz) is a proud Minnesota State Mankato graduate and that she had also taken several courses through Minnesota State Mankato while pursuing her degree from Gustavus Adolphus College. This included a course taken from a Mankato professor from Finland who had been instrumental in the First Lady’s academic and career trajectory, to whom she is indebted and appreciative.
Additional information about the trade mission, primarily the activities of Governor Walz, is provided on the DEED website: