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Lifelong Commitments Create Beautiful Spaces

Posted by Jenna Ray on Monday, Apr. 7, 2014

Located in Humanities Fine Arts (HFA), the HFA Gallery has gone without a formal name since its completion in 1973. Fortunately, the space received both a name and some much-needed renovations this summer due to a donation from two devoted campus benefactors. Their gift provides for a new doorway and entryway desk as well as bench seating, movable walls, display cases, maple flooring, updated lighting, and overall painting. According to Michael Eble, associate professor of studio art and gallery curator, these changes will enhance the caliber of Morris’s gallery.

“[This] generous gift will allow the University’s gallery to continue to be the finest space to exhibit and view art between the Twin Cities and Fargo,” says Eble. “The gift will also help the gallery become more relevant within the region and state-wide.”

Eble is referring to the recent endowment of the gallery, which ensures the curator’s ability to attract and display higher quality artwork. A portion of the donors’ gift will be used to enhance the funds available for bringing exhibits to campus
each year.

As thanks for nearly seven decades of generous support, the University has elected to name the gallery after the donors who made these renovations and endowment possible: Edward J. and Helen Jane Morrison. The two were leaders in the community effort to establish the Morris campus during the 1950s. In the school’s early years, the Morrisons were instrumental in procuring funding for operating expenses. Helen Jane also established the first concert series at Morris—a tradition that has grown into the now highly reputed Performing Arts Series.

According to Maddy Maxeiner ’76, vice chancellor for external
relations, “it is fitting that the University of Minnesota, Morris
unanimously approved the naming of the gallery to honor the
Morrisons for their decades of significant philanthropy.”

The Morrisons have provided extensive support for a variety of campus causes, and their generosity has funded scholarships for over 150 students. They have been members of the University of Minnesota Presidents Club since 1982 their most recent philanthropic commitment has been to the renovation and endowment of the gallery.