New U of M president Joan Gabel has a State Fair plan: Try everything on a stick

Joan Gabel will be inaugurated as U of M's first woman president on Sept. 20

Real Leaders with Roshini
August 19, 2019 - 11:34 am

Incoming University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel has an ambitious plan for her first Minnesota State Fair. 

“I want to try everything that's on a stick. I think that the best way to eat food is on a stick,” she told News Talk 830 WCCO Host Roshini Rajkumar during a light-hearted moment of the latest “Real Leaders with Roshini” podcast. 

Gabel, who is set to officially become the UofM's first female president in her inauguration on Sept. 20,  was raised in Atlanta and was most recently a provost at the University of South Carolina. Previous to that, she was a dean at the School of Business at the University of Missouri, and she has also taught at Florida State and Georgia State University. 

While her decades of diverse experiences in higher education may have prepared her for her newest role, they evidently did not provide her with the opportunity to try one of the Midwest’s most important dishes. 

She told Rajkumar that the Fair will give her the chance to right that wrong. 

“I've intentionally waited to eat my cheese curds because I want to eat them at the State Fair,” she said. 

And that’s not all she wants to do at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

“I'm going to milk a cow. I'm gonna ride a ride. I'm going to do it all and I can't wait and I can't wait to meet everyone who wants to tell me everything they want to tell me about the University of Minnesota.” she said. 

If you want to catch her there, Gabel will be in the Fair parade on the last Sunday, Sept. 1.

The interview with Rajkumar also touched on more serious issues, including Gabel’s concern for the future of farmers in the state. 

“They're under a lot of pressure. There are multiple headwinds that they're coping with. At the same time, and it's creating a lot of challenges, but if anyone's going to get to the other side of this successfully, it's Minnesota farmers,” she said. “I've seen that in both just studying the trends around the work that they do and in meeting them personally. It's hard not to be optimistic when you're in their company.”

Listen to the full episode here: 

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