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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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100 Years of Sociology

A century of sociology at Minnesota State Mankato will be celebrated in the CSU Ballroom from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 3.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office, 5-1-2013

Mankato, Minn. – The Department of Sociology and Corrections is celebrating 100 years of sociology at Minnesota State University, Mankato and to celebrate, the department is holding a birthday party on Friday, May 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Minnesota State Mankato’s Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

The birthday party is free and open to the public. Anyone who has pictures or artifacts is encouraged to bring them to share. The daughter and the adult grandchild of Minnesota State Mankato’s first sociologist, Gustav S. Petterson (1889-1965), are planning on attending, as are many alumni and emeriti faculty.

The Department of Sociology and Corrections is part of Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

For more information, contact Barbara Carson, professor and chair, Department of Sociology and Corrections, by phone at 507-389-6265, or by email at

Many emeriti faculty have added biography information and photos on a department website that was created to commemorate a century of sociology at Minnesota State Mankato. The website is available at this link.

An excerpt on Petterson from that website follows:
“Gustav S. Petterson (1889-1965) grew up on a farm near Cliterall, Minn., with Norwegian immigrant parents. Norwegian was the primary language in his home and community. He learned English only after starting school at the age of 8. Petterson earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, economics and education in 1911 and a master’s degree in sociology in 1912 from the University of Minnesota. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious academic honor society. He taught for a year at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., before coming to the Mankato Normal School in 1913.

“Petterson taught the first sociology class at the Mankato Normal School and became known as ‘Socie Pete.’ He also taught courses in anthropology, economics, criminology, and race and ethnic studies. Students enjoyed his sharp, yet sometimes subtle, sense of humor. He helped with many transitions over the years as the Mankato Normal School became the Mankato State Teachers College in 1921, offering two- and three-year degrees. The first four-year degrees were granted in 1939 and the first master’s degrees in 1954. Enrollment exceeded 3,000 by 1956 and the name was changed to Mankato State College in 1957, the same year that Petterson retired.”

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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