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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Department of Geography receives two endowments

Map library to be renamed Dr. Mary T. Dooley Map Library.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 1-11-2013

Mankato, Minn. – Mary T. Dooley, professor emerita of geography at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is making a financial gift to the university’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences that will create two endowments for the college’s Department of Geography.

Dooley, who taught at Minnesota State Mankato from 1966 until her retirement in 1990, designated that part of her gift be used to create an endowment for student scholarships, field work and research, while also providing funds to meet the needs of the Department of Geography.

Another portion of Dooley’s gift will endow the development of collections in the University Map Library, which will be renamed the Dr. Mary T. Dooley Map Library in a private reception on Friday, Jan. 18.

Dooley’s research and teaching focused on understanding historical land use, thus she and her students were regular patrons of the University Map Library. She taught cartography and throughout her career created countless maps, documenting socio-economic, demographic and land use change.

Dooley joined the faculty at Mankato State College in 1966 and began teaching on the lower campus. She served under several different presidents and for one year served as assistant vice president for Academic Affairs. Dooley served as program director for a large-scale map series depicting Blue Earth County’s history in the latter 1800s, using surveyor’s records, government land grants, and characteristics of the settlers reported in the 1880 census. At retirement, she was acting dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Since retiring in 1990, she has remained connected to the University and the community. In 1996, she helped start MSU for Seniors, an organization that offers classes to people over 55 years of age. During her teaching years and since retirement, she has been a consistent and generous supporter of the geography department. Dooley remained connected to the community through service on the Blue Earth County Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustments, where she witnessed the evolving needs and uses of land in southern Minnesota.

Dr. Mary T. Dooley grew up in Michigan and taught at Michigan State University for a year before joining the University of Maryland’s program for teaching military personnel in Europe. She then taught for several years at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., before returning to Michigan State and becoming the first woman to earn a doctorate from Michigan State. Her dissertation documented the geographic challenge of converting government-purchased wilderness into farmland during the early 1800s. The knowledge she gained from her research helped her in later years as she wrote and published her own family’s history.

Information on Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Geography is available online here.

For more information, please contact Donald Friend, Department of Geography, by phone at 507-389-2617 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,413 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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