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Campus with Purpose

Building a Mission-Driven Campus

When Stephen Lehmkuhle became the chancellor of the brand new University of Minnesota-Rochester campus, he had to start from scratch. He did not inherit a legacy mission that established what the campus did and how to do it; rather, he needed to find a way to rationalize the existence of the nascent campus. Lehmkuhle recognized that without a shared understanding of purpose the scope of a new campus expands at an unsustainable rate as it tries to be all things to all people, and so his first act was to decide on the driving purpose of the campus. He then used this purpose to make decisions about institutional design, scope, programs, and campus activities. Through personal and engaging anecdotes about his experience as the inaugural chancellor at the University of Minnesota-Rochester, Lehmkuhle describes how higher education leaders can focus on campus purpose to create new and fresh ways to think about many elements of campus operation and function, and how leaders can protect the campus’s purpose from the pervasive higher education culture that is hardened by history and habit.

Author Information

STEPHEN LEHMKUHLE was the inaugural chancellor for the University of Minnesota, Rochester between 2007 and 2017. Prior to 2007, he served for a decade as the vice president for academic affairs at the University of Missouri. Dr. Lehmkuhle has published widely in visual neuroscience.


"This book provides the rare opportunity to see how an inaugural chancellor and his colleagues created an agile, responsive institution.It pushes leaders in higher education to think broadly about our purposes, look in the mirror and acknowledge what we can do better, and ask the hard questions to help us adapt to changing times."
— Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

" Campus with Purposeis a fascinating read that draws upon the rich knowledge that Stephen Lehmkuhle amassed as the inaugural chancellor at the University of Minnesota, Rochester. The author’s experiences are important examples for other university leaders, proving that presidents can create change rather than manage change."
— Robert Zemsky, author of Checklist for Change: Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise

Audience: College/higher education;