Pizza with the president kicks off inauguration week

Students enjoyed pizza and conversation with Minnesota State University, Mankato’s President Edward Inch Tuesday in the first event kicking off the president’s inauguration week on campus. 

Inch explained he views his upcoming inauguration as a celebration of what opportunities MSU has to offer and what the university does as a whole while still valuing the campus culture. 

“The important part about [inaugurations] is we need to be grounded in our history and how we’re going to go forward based on the foundation we have now,” said Inch. “I feel it’s a chance to affirm who we are as a university and to imagine what we want it to be.”

Inch said some of his favorite memories from the last year were Hockey Day Minnesota, attending the Frozen Four and the Homecoming bonfire. Inch noted that previously he was unable to attend campus events in California due to his hour-and-a-half commute.

“I’m able to walk out of my office and go to a basketball game or a volleyball game. It’s what makes campuses special, being able to go around is a total experience,” said Inch.

Inch noted the differences between interaction with students this year are more optimistic compared to last year when students arrived back to campus during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inch said he noticed how students attitudes and demeanors changed once the mask mandate lifted last spring.

“The mask mandate, while it was necessary, was a reminder that there is this pandemic that we have no control over that was governing much of our lives. This year, it’s completely different,” shared Inch. “It’s a whole different energy on campus this year compared to last. You can’t walk around campus and not feel energized by that.”

Freshman Carina Bieberdorf said she likes events that allow students to interact with the president.

“It’s nice that [the president] isn’t just a face, like ‘he’s the president and no one can talk to him,’” shared Bieberdorf. “If you have questions, you can talk to him about it.

Junior Kaci Thurer came out to the event to enjoy food and meet new people. Thurer agreed with Bieberdorf on student interactions with the president.

“I think [these events] are really great so the president can hear directly from the students about what they want to talk about,” said Thurer.

Freshman Sandrah Salim had a chance to speak with the president about challenges international students faced, something Salim appreciated.

“Events [where the president can interact with students] takes pressure off of [international students] since in class, we’re more focused on work. They’re interactive platforms for us,” said Salim.

Inch said that the best part of his job is the interactions that he has with students. Inch said he finds these events useful as he appreciates sitting down and talking with students.

“There’s different kinds of pressures and tensions students face that I didn’t face and I want to understand those and figure out what our choices are and how we can help address those,” said Inch. “My job is to figure out how do we realign the university’s resources and what we have to offer to meet those and what we need to reassess. At the end of the day, I believe [MSU] should help you achieve your educational goals.”

Inch’s inauguration ceremony will take place 3 p.m. Friday in Bresnan Arena.

Header Photo: Pizza with the President was the first event in the weeklong lineup leading up to President Inch’s inauguration. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

Write to Emma Johnson at

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