History and TraditionPage address: https://www.mnsu.edu/students/basicstuff/history.html
Minnesota State University, Mankato promotes learning through effective undergraduate and graduate teaching, scholarship, and research in service to the state, the region, and the global community.
The University has identified five strategic action steps:
- Change the world by collaboratively addressing our planet's most challenging problems.
- Foster the thriving and robust academic culture of a university with applied doctoral programs.
- Greatly expand the reach of our extended learning programs.
- Reinvigorate our physical home and build the campus of the future.
- Measure and continuously improve our work to ensure excellence in all that we do.
A report of the work to date on the strategic priorities is online at www.mnsu.edu/strategicplan/
Mankato Normal School opened as the state's second teacher training school in 1868 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 in 1870, 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. In 1921 the school became Mankato State Teachers College, and in 1927 the institution awarded its first four–year degree, a bachelor of education.
In the late 1950s, the school was renamed Mankato State College to reflect an expanded curriculum, and construction began on the 300 acre Highland Campus. The College maintained two locations for several years. In 1975, the college received full university status. Four years later consolidation on the Highland Campus was complete. In 1998, for the fifth time in its 130–year 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.
Today, the University offers more than 140 programs in six undergraduate colleges, and 80 master's, advanced certificate and doctoral programs in the College of Graduate Studies and Research.
Student life is vibrant with more than 240 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.
Under the leadership of President Richard Davenport, 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.
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 Mavericks brave and bold.
So fight on Minnesota State
Come on! Let's go!
M–A–V–E–R–I–C–K–S! MAV–'RICKS! MAV–'RICKS!
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 and 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.
Minnesota State Mankato Seal
Minnesota State Mankato Logo
Minnesota State Mankato Official Colors
Purple (PMS 269)
Gold (PMS 109)
Minnesota State Mankato Mascot
For correct usage of the official logo, please refer to the University Graphic Standards website at mnsu.edu/standards/ or by contacting the Office of Integrated Marketing at 389-2523. Approval from the Office of Integrated Marketing is required before using Minnesota State Mankato logos.
Alumni Arch and Plaza
An arch from Minnesota State Mankato's former laboratory school was incorporated into the design of the plaza near the Bell Tower. Dollars raised from the sale of almost 500 bricks and a generous donation from the Minnesota State Mankato Alumni Association funded the first phase of the plaza which surrounds the arch. Names and sentiments from alumni and friends are represented in the bricks in the plaza, which was dedicated in July 1993.
This artwork was dedicated in December 1990, following expansion of Wiecking Center (formerly Wilson Campus School). Artist Joyce Marguess Carey designed the piece recognizing that much of the remodeling centered on the Family Consumer Science Department and the Children's House. The theme deals with children learning how to build and create new things with their hands and minds, using many materials including building blocks.
Two of the sculptures on the Minnesota State Mankato mall are the works of Arnoldus Grüter, a former artist–in–residence at Minnesota State Mankato. The black sculpture titled "Chthonic" was carved on–site by the artist from a single block of poured polyurethane foam. "Chthonic" was the first sculpture placed on the new mall.
Ellis Avenue Gateway
The new welcoming Gateway is located at the Ellis avenue and Stadium road intersection. For many new students, the intersection of Ellis and Stadium at the crest of the hill is their first glimpse of the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus. Since there's no real "front door" to the University, the school decided it needed a fresh new patio. This Gateway adds another asthetic to our beautiful campus. The view looks quite picturesque. The corner sidewalk is widened to allow more pedestrian traffic. To accent the existing Pillars carved with our intellectual disciplines, there is a narrow pond, surrounded by low, landscaped hills and greenery. There are also two new brick and stone signs with LED lighting.
The Fountain, in part from the New York City 1965 World Fair, was installed in 1969. It was designed to create a spiral effect with stationary water jets. The fountain sculpture, by Roger Johnson, a former faculty member in the Art Department, was not originally part of the work but was added in 1975.
Kent State – Jackson State Memorial
The memorial on the northwest corner of Morris Hall was dedicated in 1972 to the students who were killed in the Kent State Jackson State riots in 1970. It states, "Hate, War, Poverty And Racism Are Buried Here."
Marso–Schmitz Plaza and Jane Rush Gathering Place
Made possible by a lead gift from former Minnesota State Mankato Foundation president Mary Marso–Schmitz, ('68). The Plaza creates a place for students to relax, study, and meet others. Its design allows for outdoor music performances, as well as community and University events and receptions. The Jane Rush Gathering Place was created to honor the late Jane Rush, wife of former President Richard R. Rush, and her contributions to campus life.
Minnesota State Mankato Mace
The Minnesota State Mankato mace was made entirely from Minnesota materials in recognition of the value and beauty of the state's natural resources and people. A university mace symbolizes both the university's power — overcoming ignorance and prejudice by seeking truth — and the power of the president to protect the university and its community from forces opposed to those goals. The mace used in each graduation ceremony was commissioned and donated by Fred and Karin Bock. The mace was created by Phil Swan, a Minnesota State Mankato alumnus from Prior Lake, Minnesota.
Ostrander – Student Memorial Bell Tower
The Ostrander–Student Memorial Bell Tower stands in the Minnesota State Mankato campus arboretum. Its construction was made possible by a donation from Lloyd B. Ostrander, a 1927 Minnesota State Mankato graduate, his wife Mildred, donations from the Minnesota State Mankato Student Association, and gifts from other contributors. The Bell Tower, with its clock, was completed in 1989. Though known as the "bell tower," no bells exist and the music provided is from a carillon.
Pillars, by Saint Paul sculptor Steven Woodward, is comprised of eight massive limestone blocks set in grassy berms at the corner of Stadium Road and Ellis Avenue, just west and south of Otto Recreation Center. Woodward describes the amphitheater–like space as a "sculptural landform." Most of the four–ton blocks are etched with the names of academic disciplines: Literature, Physics, Theatre, Astronomy, History, and Philosophy and Geology, which are upside down. "It makes you think," Woodward says. "That's part of a university. The sculptures are foundation blocks, metaphorically reflecting the mission of the university as books nestled within the terraces, and steps and platforms to actively engage the students in a landscape of learning."
Located in Wiecking Center's open courtyard, Shurson Gardens, was dedicated October 18, 1996, and named after Judy Shurson. Judy, who died after a nine–month battle with cancer, was a respected and well–liked employee who served the University for 14 years in various capacities including Theatre Arts business manager, and finally as office manager and job order controller for Printing Services. Judy helped transform the neglected Wiecking Center courtyard into one full of flowering plants.
The black cement cast spheres situated at the east entrance of the Trafton Science Center were created in 1993 by Janet Lofquist. They are graded into an amphitheater–like space, creating a welcoming entrance to the building.
Vietnam War Memorial
The memorial on the southeast corner of the library was dedicated, by the Minnesota State Mankato Vets Club in 1983, to the veterans of the Vietnam War. It states, "For those who fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know." The memorial was designed by Mark Dragan, a Minnesota State Mankato alumnus and USAF veteran.
The red, steel sculpture, titled "Waves," was designed by Arnoldus Grüter and fabricated at Jones Metal Products in Mankato. In the artist's words, "Waves" symbolizes in static form, the dynamic action of the ocean and a university. This sculpture was built in honor of Jerry W. Berger, a graduate student who was killed in a 1969 industrial accident.