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2010 Founders Weekend: celebrating campus history

Posted by Judy Korn on Thursday, Sep. 23, 2010

Founders Weekend, September 23–26, 2010, will mark the 50-year anniversary of the opening of the University of Minnesota, Morris and the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the West Central School of Agriculture (WCSA) and Experiment Station. The weekend activities, part of the all-year 2010 Celebration, celebrate campus history.

Media Services documentary reflects on place and purpose
Thursday evening, September 23, features the premier of a campus documentary, Promise of the Prairie Education in Three Acts, created by Media Services. The film explores campus history from the American Indian boarding school era, through the WCSA period, to the University of Minnesota, Morris years, noting the campus’s impact on the region, state, and beyond.You will hear voices from the past including Mother Mary Joseph of the Sisters of Mercy, WCSA alumni reminiscing about moving away from home as young teenagers....the trials and the thrills, and members of the UMM campus community.

Bettina Blake, retired vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean, reflects in the documentary on her welcome speech for first-year students.

"'...the four years are very short ….So as quickly as possible you have to get yourself ready to take over your student government, your major, your classes. If you don’t like the way things are going in your division or your subject field, you can do something about it.' And that was the idea of it. They were to take over so that by the time they were seniors the institution as a whole had advanced, because no college will—if it stays static it’ll die."

On Friday, September 24, the Chancellor's Advisory Council will gather on campus and a celebratory evening gathering will be held for the University of Minnesota, Morris Presidents Club.

History panel, tours, and lots of music
On Saturday, September 25, the day begins with an 11 a.m. Retirees Luncheon in the Welcome Center. At noon, campus guests will gather in Imholte Hall, room 109, for a campus history panel. "Blooming Where We're Planted" will feature Steve Granger, retired assistant to the chancellor and founding faculty member, Gary McGrath '68, former vice chancellor for student affairs, Bettina Blake, retired vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean, David Johnson, retired chancellor, and Sam Schuman, retired chancellor.

From 2 until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Green Campus Tours will depart from the new Welcome Center. The tours provide an opportunity to view the Welcome Center, a state-of-the-art green building, and to learn about wind, biomass, and solar energy initiatives and projects on campus. At 3 p.m. a public screening of the Morris campus documentary, Promise of the Prairie Education in Three Acts, will be held in Edson Auditorium.

On the mall, music will be the theme throughout the afternoon and evening. A free Street Dance will be held beginning with two bands chosen to open for the featured groups: Work of Cunning Giants at 1:30 p.m. and The Upfuls at 2:30 p.m.

Monroe Crossing, an award winning Minnesota group, will play classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and original music on the mall from 4 until 6 p.m. Monroe Crossing is known for “airtight harmonies, razor sharp arrangements, and on-stage rapport.” At 7 p.m., the Johnny Holm Band takes the stage. A well known, high-energy performer, Holm has been called “the most entertaining entertainer performing today,” his band is comprised of exceptional rock and roll musicians. Through the afternoon and evening on Saturday, vendors will provide food items streetside—you won’t miss a minute of the music.

Community Meal, Welcome Center dedication, and Founders Day program
On Sunday, September 26, campus guests have another opportunity to participate in green tours from 11 a.m. until noon. From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., a free Community Meal on the Mall will be held.

At 1 p.m. on Sunday of Founders Weekend, the Welcome Center will be formally dedicated. UMM and WCSA alumni are especially encouraged to participate, as well as the community, faculty, and staff, in honoring the transformation of this building constructed during WCSA years and continuously utilized throughout UMM’s 50 years.

In addition, the Robert B. DeWall Memorial Courtyard, a gift to the campus, will be dedicated in honor of one of the original members of the West Central Educational Development Association, the grassroots community organization that persuaded the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to establish the University of Minnesota, Morris.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, a Founders Day program in Edson Auditorium, "Songs and Stories: Morris Past, Present, and Future," will officially commemorate the University of Minnesota, Morris’s 50th birthday—the exact day UMM’s first students began in 1960—and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the West Central School of Agriculture and Experiment Station. In recognition of the campus’s origins as an American Indian boarding school, an American Indian Honor Song will be performed as a program prelude. Music and storytelling will be key features of the program, and a celebratory reception follows.

For more information about all the 2010 Celebration events, including the 2010 Celebration Art Exhibit that opens on August 25 in the Humanities Fine Arts Gallery, visit the 2010 Celebration Web site or call 320-589-6414.