MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ken Keller, who resigned as University of Minnesota president under duress in 1988, has a tip for the school's new president.
"The advice I have for President (Robert) Bruininks is not to ask old presidents for their advice," Keller joked.
It wasn't always such a laughing matter for Keller, but his return to teaching and the university has left him able to look back at his tenure without being bitter.
Keller resigned after reports that the cost of remodeling Eastcliff, the official home of the university president in St. Paul, had increased from $400,000 to about $1.5 million, without university regents approving the overruns.
Despite leaving his position, Keller received several invitations to apply for presidencies at other universities over the years. He chose, however, to steer clear of administration, opting for the profession that first attracted him: teaching.
Classroom work led him to a few different places, including Princeton University, but Keller was lured back to Minnesota in 1996 to direct the Charles M. Denny Center for Science, Technology and Public Affairs at the university's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He also serves as a professor in the university's department of chemical engineering and materials science.
"They kept calling, and we talked about it for a year or so," Keller said of his decision to return. "It felt like coming home. I love this university. I've never wanted to be a part of anything else."
Keller first joined the university faculty in 1964. He moved on to become vice president for academic affairs in 1980 and president in 1985.
These days, the 68-year-old Keller shies away from the subject of his days as president, other than to say "that was a time in my life; this a new time in my life."
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