History of the University

From its founding in 1868 as Mankato Normal School, this has been an institution where big ideas meet real-world thinking.


Mankato Normal School opened as the state's second teacher training school in downtown Mankato with 27 students. Tuition was free in return for a student's pledge to teach two years in Minnesota's schools.


Old Main was constructed and this marked the beginning of the Valley Campus that would serve the institution for a century.

In the 1880s, the school expanded and curriculum grew.


The school became Mankato State Teachers College.


The institution awarded its first four–year degree, a bachelor of education.


The school was renamed Mankato State College to reflect an expanded curriculum, and construction began on the Highland Campus. The College maintained two locations for several years.


The college received full university status. Four years later consolidation on the Highland Campus was complete.


For the fifth time in its history, the University adopted a new name to reflect expanded service to Minnesota and the nation. Minnesota State University, Mankato continues to gain renown for the quality of its programs and breadth of service.


The University offers more than 130 programs in six undergraduate colleges. The College of Graduate Studies and Research offers over 85 master's, advanced certificate and doctoral programs.

Student life is vibrant with more than 200 recognized department clubs, political organizations, recreation clubs, intramural athletics, social clubs, service and religious organizations. First–year students get off to a strong start with the support of New Student and Family Programs, and some take advantage of residential Learning Communities where students who share a major live on the same residence community floors and take classes together.

The University offers 20 intercollegiate men's and women's sports, including hockey, volleyball, soccer, softball, tennis, golf, swimming and diving, football, cross-country, basketball, track and field, wrestling, and baseball.

Minnesota State Mankato has embraced strategic priorities which are focused, achievable, and exciting. Results include our status as a doctoral institution and action toward becoming an increasingly inclusive and welcoming campus. This growth is the latest in our unending push to deliver education beyond what students expect – the kind of learning that transforms students' lives, allows them to realize dreams and makes them a driving force in changing our world for the better.

Presidential History

A chronological history of presidential leadership at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Presidential History

Minnesota State Rouser

Hail to our colors,
the purple and the gold.
Rally for vict'ry,
We're back of you
so fight, fight, fight.
You'll conquer our foes
all you Mav'ricks brave and bold.
So fight on Minnesota State
Come on let's go, let's go!

Minnesota State Hymn

Minnesota State, we hail; Hail the purple and the gold.
All alumni, old and new, take you with them when they go.
From the hilltop, from the prairie, Where the river bends to lead them
We are walking proud and strong, Minnesota State on and on.

Racha Macha, MSU, now and always we'll be true
In the classroom, on the mall, by the fountain, spring or fall
In the cities, in their towers, in the nations far from home.
Minnesota State we hail to you. Purple and gold we're ever true.