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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Oct. 7: Centennial Student Union 50th Anniversary Celebration

Short program beginning at 4:15 p.m. will feature premiere showing of 10-minute video on CSU history.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 10-2-2017

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Centennial Student Union is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an Art Gallery exhibit open daily on the student union’s lower level throughout October and a Saturday, Oct. 7 Homecoming 2017 celebration that includes the premiere of an approximately 10-minute video on the CSU history.

Centennial Student Union opens at 8 a.m. Saturday, and its Homecoming 2017 celebration includes a short program beginning at 4:15 p.m. that will include remarks by University President Richard Davenport, CSU Director Mark Constantine and others, as well as the first showing of the video.

The day’s events will a performance by the illusionist Reza at 7 p.m. Saturday in the CSU Ballroom. All of Saturday’s events are free and open to the public.

Memories and vision are the focus of the CSU 50th Anniversary Art Exhibit, which features alumni contributions of “serendipitous memories” that share stories about lives impacted by, in or through Centennial Student Union. The exhibit also includes a video teaser, photo slide show, Centennial Student Union timeline and the history of the student union’s Lincoln statue and the University mascot, “Stomper.”

The 50th anniversary video features observations by current CSU Director Mark Constantine as well as past directors Laurie Woodward and Henry Morris. Others featured in the video include Mike Hodapp, long-time CSU finance director who retired in 2011, as well as the late Scott Hagebak, former CSU facilities director. The video includes comments from students and alumni.

A traveling display included in the exhibit will be shown throughout Centennial Student Union during the 2017-2018 academic year. The Homecoming 2017 celebration is among the numerous events that celebrate the University’s year-long Sesquicentennial observance.

The current student union opened Oct. 27, 1967, on the eve of then Mankato State College’s Homecoming. It was named Centennial Student Union in honor of the college celebrating its 100-year anniversary.

Funded through student fees and generated revenue, Centennial Student Union was envisioned in the late 1950s as the college planned expansion to the upper Highland Campus. In 1962, students began contributing $5 per academic quarter toward construction of a student union. As planned, the $1.5 million building was expanded in 1972 and again in 1999.

The $14 million renovation in 2005, which included the addition of the main glass-walled south entrance and Hearth Lounge, significantly changed the look and feel of the CSU.

Drawing upon the view of C. Shaw Smith, former president of the Association of College Unions International, Centennial Student Union staff refer to the union as a “House of Serendipity.” It is a place intended to invite, involve and inspire students. Centennial Student Union’s six core values include leadership, integrity, community, personal development, innovation and celebration.

For more information, contact Lenny Koupal, Centennial Student Union communications coordinator, by phone at 507-389-6744 or by email at

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s annual “Homecoming Week” is Oct. 2-7. The University’s Homecoming has been in existence since 1928. Homecoming week offers students and alumni a way to display their pride and school spirit. Homecoming also allows the greater Mankato community a chance to learn about the university and take part in the celebrations. A complete list of Homecoming events is available online.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,110 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which comprises 31 state institutions. 

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