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– Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

COVID-19 campus response and Return to Learn news and updates.



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Page address: https://www.mnsu.edu/students/basicstuff/history.html

Mission Statement

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.


Minnesota State Mankato will be known as a university where people expect to go further than they thought possible by combining knowledge and the passion to achieve great things.

Our foundation for this vision is our heritage of both dedicated teaching and the direct application of knowledge to improve a diverse community and world. We will achieve it by actively nurturing the passion within students, faculty and staff to push beyond possibility on the way to realizing dreams.



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 1957 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. 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 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 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.

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.

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.

Minnesota State Mankato Seal, Logo, Colors and Mascot

Minnesota State Mankato Seal

Minnesota State University Seal

Minnesota State Mankato Logo

Minnesota State University Logo

Minnesota State Mankato Official Colors

Purple Pantone 269

Purple (PMS 269)

Gold Pantone 109

Gold (PMS 109)

Minnesota State Mankato Mascot

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 (507) 389-2523. Approval from the Office of Integrated Marketing is required before using Minnesota State Mankato logos.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Landmarks, Sculptures, and Significant Art

Alumni Arch and PlazaAlumni 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.

Building BlocksBuilding Blocks

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.

Ellis Avenue GatewayEllis Avenue Gateway

The 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. This gateway adds aesthetic 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 brick and stone signs with LED lighting.

The FountainThe Fountain

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 Bill Richmond, a former faculty member in the Department of Art, was added in 1975. The fountain underwent major renovation in the summer of 2013.

Kent State – Jackson  State MemorialKent 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 protests in 1970. It states, "Hate, War, Poverty And Racism Are Buried Here."

Marso-Schmitz Plaza and Jane Rush Gathering PlaceMarso–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 University MaceMinnesota State Mankato Mace

The 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 TowerOstrander – 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. 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."

Shurson Gardens plaqueShurson Gardens

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 MemorialVietnam 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.