The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth
Volume 18, No.1, Winter 2001

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Designed by World-Famous Architect, Cesar Pelli

Photo: Wm. Robert Bucker, students Mike Lofthus and Kari Amstutz, Kathryn A. Martin and Mary Ann and Ron Weber.

UMD held groundbreaking ceremonies in October for the UMD Weber Music Hall. The 21,600 square foot building, designed by noted architect Cesar Pelli, features a 350-seat performance hall topped by a sweeping copper dome. The building is named for alumni Mary Ann and Ron Weber in honor of their generous gift toward its design and completion.

“We are grateful that Ron and Mary Ann shared our vision for the participation of a world-class architect in the creation of a state-of-the-art facility,” said Dr. Wm. Robert Bucker, dean of the School of Fine Arts. Mary Ann and Ron Weber, both alumni of UMD were present at the groundbreaking ceremonies. “The University makes a tremendous intellectual and financial contribution to the entire north country,” said Ron Weber, chairman of the board for Normark Corporation. “Through this gift, we hope to enhance UMD’s facilities and make the university experience even more pleasant for students.” Mary Ann recalled her days as a student for the audience and Ron said his years at UMD were some of the happiest days of his life.

UMD is fortunate to have Master architect Cesar Pelli as part of the team. Pelli, who grew up in Tucuman, Argentina; received a Master in Architecture degree from the University of Illinois; worked with Eero Saarinen; was dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University; and now heads an internationally recognized architectural firm in New Haven, Connecticut.

Pelli has designed over 100 buildings and public and cultural spaces using unique technologies and innovative construction techniques with glass, stone, metal and brick. His diverse worldwide projects include: World Financial Center and Winter Garden in New York City, Kukui Gardens in Honolulu, U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, North Terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, Ohio Center for the Arts at Cincinnati, and Gaviidae Common in downtown Minneapolis. His buildings can also be found on many college and university campuses, including Vassar College, Trinity College, Princeton University, Yale University, Rice University, University of California/ Riverside, and University of Washington/ Seattle.

In Duluth, Pelli is working with Stanius Johnson Architects. Ken Johnson, of Stanius Johnson, is the designer of the new UMD library, which opened in September.

Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin said, “The new Weber Music Hall will provide the final arm of an ‘Arts Triangle’ on the UMD campus — joining the Tweed Museum of Art and the Marshall Performing Arts Center around the perimeter of Ordean Court. We know the Music Hall will become a campus and a community destination providing enrichment and enjoyment, and further defining UMD as an exciting regional arts center.”

The building’s public performance area will include a stage able to accommodate a 70-piece orchestra and seating for an audience of 350. A chorus loft behind the stage area will allow expansion of audience seating to over 400 which would totally surround the stage. The building will provide state-of-the-art acoustics for both live performances and high-quality audio-video recording of events. Accent
lighting is designed to accommodate a variety of performance and artistic needs. All of the building will be fully accessible including lobby, green room, box office, rest rooms, coat room, storage, elevator,physical plant, and audience, performance, rehearsal and media spaces.

The UMD Music Department has more than doubled in size in the last six years with a significant increase in technological emphasis. Enrollment is just over 100 undergraduate music majors, with 24 graduate students, and 450 performing ensemble participants. Each year UMD music ensembles perform over 100 concerts, with a total attendance of 15,000 people. Approximately 5,300 undergraduate students from every college at UMD enroll in music courses each year.

“With this new building UMD will be engaged in a wonderful new era of educational and cultural growth,” said Bucker.


Technology is changing the way things are done, including the way UMD trains teachers. Chalk and chalkboards are making way for laptop computers, internet connections and power outlets.

The College of Education and Human Service Professions is a national leader in improving how teachers use computers in the classroom. UMD received a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Education grant to integrate technology into university and school curriculum. During the next three years, UMD will study how instructors are teaching English, reading, social studies and science at three Duluth-area schools that volunteered for the study. Then teachers and university faculty will modify lesson plans using everything from the internet to video-conferencing and computer spreadsheets to improve teaching.

Education professor Joan Karp said the money would help UMD professors and graduate students develop better training programs at UMD, Chester Park Elementary School, Fond du Lac Tribal School and Duluth Central High School. Karp said, “Children easily and intuitively use the internet and computers. We need to better prepare teachers to use technology. We believe that the best way to develop models to do this is to have University faculty and teachers working hand in hand.”


A recent visit to the UMD campus by Governor Jesse Ventura drew a large crowd of young adults. Ventura’s purpose for visiting colleges and high schools all across the state of Minnesota has been to inspire and encourage young people to become voters. In a meeting at UMD, Ventura told 175 student leaders, “Don’t blow it, don’t ruin what my generation fought so hard to get, and I’m talking about the right to vote at age 18.” The governor also spoke to a group of 1,200 students at Duluth’s Denfeld High School, delivering a similar message. Ventura encouraged students to vote, and using himself as an example, he explained to students that a vote for a third party candidate is not a wasted vote.

The students who saw Ventura at UMD felt that Ventura’s celebrity is enough to get the attention of students, making them more likely to listen to his message. They were unsure as to whether or not Ventura was compelling enough to actually get more students to vote.



Kids can’t read without books! Sadly, many children in Minnesota do not own a book, nor do they have access to books in their home or community centers.  

UMD is participating in the University of Minnesota Literacy Initiative in conjunction with Barnes and Noble Booksellers to sponsor a book drive to benefit young readers. The goal of this book drive is to put books into the hands of kids.

Interested individuals can stop by any Minnesota Barnes and Noble store during literacy week, February 26 - March 3, and purchase a children’s book. They will receive a 10% discount and the books will be donated to a child, school, or community center. On Saturday, March 3, all 17 Minnesota Barnes and Noble stores will donate a percentage of the sales from the day to the book drive.

UMD alumni volunteers will be there to greet customers from 1 - 4 p.m. on March 3, at the Duluth Barnes and Noble store, at 625 W. Central Entrance, in the Stone Ridge Shopping Center. Between 2 and 3 p.m. on that same day, Champ will shake your hand and Chief of Police, alumnus, Scott Lyons will read Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat and other favorite books. Books purchased in Duluth and proceeds will stay in Duluth and be given out locally.


University officials recently announced the acquisition of 13 etchings by Pablo Picasso for the UMD Tweed Museum of Art. In addition, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration, they acknowledged a unique major foundation gift, and unveiled the new Tweed Donor Recognition Wall. The 13 Picasso etchings, numbered and signed by the artist, are drawings done in 1926-27. They were used in 1931 to illustrate “The Unknown Masterpiece,” a short novel by Honore de Balzac. They are set 83 of 99 produced. The etchings tell a story of an artist frustrated by his desire to finish a work over a 10 year period of time. Martin DeWitt, museum director, reported that this purchase was made possible by donations given by the grandchildren of Alice Tweed Tuohy. In addition to the etchings, university officials also announced a gift of $250,000 to the Tweed by the Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation. Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin said, “We are indeed proud to mark this day of multi-celebration. The addition of the Picasso etchings further highlights and expands Tweed’s outstanding permanent collection, which is one of the very finest in the Midwest.”


With the opening of a bright, spacious new library, UMD took a giant step by offering students a wealth of new and exciting information. The latest technology available at the library allows students more educational opportunities than ever before, including more access to computers, online resources, and the internet. Over 250 new computers are available at reference desks, study carrels, and in classrooms. There are also stations where students can plug in laptops. According to Bill von Dran, a national consultant on University technology, UMD is at the cutting edge of technology with its investment in the new library,. Computer technology is not the only major addition to the library. Several small conference rooms are available for students to work on group projects. There are also more than 550,000 books available in the library, and increased space gives the library room to expand its existing print collection. In addition, “Clear and Silver Chandelier,” a sculpture by international glass artist Dale Chihuly, welcomes users to the library’s main lobby.



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