The Morris Student Center is the heart of community life on campus. Opened in 1992, it marks the fulfillment of the long-term vision and commitment of Morris students, whose advocacy culminated in its completion.
The Student Center reflects the rich history of the campus. Beginning in 1887, the site first served as home to an American Indian Boarding School operated by the Sisters of Mercy. In 1897, the US government purchased the property for an American Indian School, which continued until 1909 when the property passed to the state of Minnesota for an agricultural school. A condition of the property transfer was that tuition would be waived for American Indian pupils; Morris proudly honors this commitment today as a testament to the history and legacy of the site. The West Central School of Agriculture (WCSA) opened to area high school students in 1910. For the next 50 years, the WCSA offered a residential, secondary education curriculum with emphasis on agriculture and home economics. In 1959, the Regents of the University of Minnesota established a new four-year liberal arts college on this site. The first group of 238 university students arrived in the fall of 1960.
- The spaces within the Student Center commemorate the history of the campus.
- Turtle Mountain CafĂ© recognizes the early years when many of the first students educated on the campus came from the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
- Edson Auditorium honors West Central School of Agriculture superintendent Allen W. Edson, who during his three decades with WCSA also served as an instructor, horticulturalist, and leader, and who was a friend to so many in the schoolâ€™s community. Oyate Hall comprises three gathering spaces: the Alumni Room, the Cougar Room, and University Room. Oyate (pronounced oy-YA-teh) is a Lakota/Dakota expression meaning "the people."
- The Prairie Lounge and Moccasin Flower Room call attention to the tall grass prairie of West central Minnesota and the features of its landscape.