The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 20, No.1, Summer 2002


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UMD's Promise and Past
We had the chance to catch up with some UMD alumni recently and they had some interesting reflections on how UMD has changed over the past few decades.



PROMISE

Steve Fox ’74, and his wife, Connie Fladeland, have watched UMD and the city of Duluth mature. Because Fox’s family lives in Duluth, they have made regular visits from their home in Wayzata, Minnesota, up Interstate 35 to Fox’s boyhood haunts.

“We have seen the changes as they occurred,” says Fladeland. “One of the most significant for me is the transformation of Duluth into a tourist destination. There is a lot more to see.”

Fox agrees, “The number one difference, by far, is the addition of the Lake Superior Boardwalk. It is a real asset, as is the Canal Park area which ranks as one of the top scenic spots in the state. When I was in school at UMD, northeastern Minnesota had a depressed labor market and the Canal Park area was light industrial. It wasn’t very prosperous. I never envisioned that it would become such a popular attraction.”

“We love the lake; we love the cold and snow,” said Fladeland, “so when we get invited up, we come.”

Fox and Fladeland stay involved with UMD because education is important to them both. Fladeland, who just received her Ph.D. in education from the University of Minnesota, is the principal of the Schumann Elementary School in Orono, Minnesota. Her dissertation examined why teachers decide to teach. She looked at factors that include salary, work schedules, and the knowledge that teaching can make a difference to children and the community.

Fox is proud of her achievement. He said, “Connie has given me some insight about the school system and, of course, I am interested. Education was always valued in my family. Higher education was a topic that got respect.”

That concern for a university education has brought Fox, who received the UMD Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997, closer to UMD. He now serves on the Chancellor’s Council and consults with Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin on UMD issues. She relies on him for marketing advice, and he is happy to give it.

“UMD has grown and prospered right along with Duluth,” he said. “The new residence halls are the result of a booming student population. I think the students are as captivated as I am by the quality of departments like the Center for Economic Development and the engineering program.”

UMD has a lot of competition for Fox’s time. In addition to his position as publisher of Minnesota Monthly Magazine, Midwest Home and Design, TC Taste, WHERE TC, Minnesota Retreats, the Official Guide to the Twin Cities and other publications, Fox also serves on the board of directors of a number of non-profit organizations. The list reads like the Who’s Who of Minnesota Art Organizations and includes the Minnesota Opera, the Loft, the MacPhail Center for the Arts, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the University of Minnesota School of Music, the Dale Warland Singers, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

He has come a long way from the young college student slumped in Joe Huey’s corner booth. “I can only hide from the past for so long,” he said. “If I walk just a block from my Minneapolis office to the Loon Cafe, I’m reminded of my college days again. You see, the Loon Cafe bought the seats from Joe Huey’s Duluth restaurant when it closed. History lives on.”

Regardless of the other organizations that now take his attention, Fox is attentive to developments at UMD. “I have been especially aware of the changes under Kathryn Martin. She is invigorating; she throws herself into projects and the results have been phenomenal.” Fox enumerated some of the programs that have been recently initiated. “The Large Lakes Observatory, the Center for Fresh Water Research and the new pharmacy program in the medical school have tremendous potential,” he said. “Of course, the new library has transformed UMD. In my mind, it wouldn’t have been as stunning or occurred as soon without Kathryn.” Fox says he only has one concern. He asked, “How long will we be able to retain the remarkable leadership of Chancellor Kathryn Martin?”


PAST

Shogren remembers sitting in the Griggs Hall TV lounge and watching as the numbers were called for the Vietnam War’s first military lottery draft.

When Susan Meyer and Dan Shogren talk about UMD, they reminisce about more than classes, sports and parties. They attended UMD from 1969-1973, during a time when world politics, particularly the Vietnam conflict, were on everyone’s mind.

On May 4, 1970, at the end of Meyer and Shogren’s first year on campus, a student demonstration against the Vietnam War at Kent Stateended with four student deaths. UMD closed the school. Meyer and Shogren were sent home along with the other UMD students, with about a month left before the end of the year. Meyer said, “We could choose to schedule a final exam or keep our midterm grades. Some of our classmates used the month off to work on the upcoming presidential election.”

Shogren remembers sitting in the Griggs Hall TV lounge and watching as the numbers were called for the Vietnam War’s first military lottery draft. “It was a huge deal,” Shogren says. “Most of my friends were in that room that night. My roommate made the comment that if the Minnesota Vikings lost the Super Bowl, he would enlist. We thought he was joking and no one understood his reasoning. But the Vikings did lose and when school started again in January we found out he had joined the Army.”

Luckily, everything was not always so serious. Meyer and Shogen met each other at UMD and started dating. Meyer says that the story of the first time they met has a familiar ring. “Our roommates were going out together and they introduced us to each other.” They were typical college students of that era, “Dan wore army surplus clothes, he had one khaki field coat that he wore all the time, and I remember the tie-dyed things,” she said. “Now, I look back and I can’t imagine why anyone liked them!”

Shogren and Meyer said that the campus was a lot smaller then. There were only about 5,500 students. Shogren’s degree is in political science and history; Meyer’s is in history. They readily recall their professors. Meyer fondly remembers Maude Lindquist, her advisor. Shogren remembers Ronald Huch and John Kress. They both had, as Shogren puts it, “the riveting Dr. Gerhardt Von Glahn,” Jim Maclear, and Dr. Julius Wolff. Shogren and Meyer recently found Wolff’s book, Shipwrecks of Lake Superior, in a bookstore and bought a copy.

They both agree, a lot has changed at UMD and in Duluth. Shogren said they were surprised when they revisited the campus, “We were busy with our jobs and lives in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and there was almost a 20-year period when we didn’t make it up to Duluth at all. When we did come back, the transformation was amazing.”

Chancellor Ianni invited them to reconnect and when Chancellor Martin came on board, she encouraged the couple to stay involved.

“The school has almost doubled in size since we went to school,” Meyer said. “And the city has really changed.” Shogren, like Steve Fox and so many other UMD students, also remembers the Chinese restaurant, Joe Huey’s, where he said, “we had many late night meals.”

Shogren and Meyer get up to Duluth and to UMD often. Shogren serves on the Tweed Advisory Board and the Chancellor’s Council, a group that consults on UMD issues. Shogren says that he is “infected by Kathryn Martin’s enthusiasm. UMD is fortunate to have her.”

Shogren and Meyer take time out of their very busy lives for UMD. Meyer is a 3M supply chain manager and Shogren works for a computer circuit board company, Dynamic Details, Inc. Every year they host a holiday party for their friends from UMD and many of their classmates get a chance to catch up on each other’s lives. Even the roommate who enlisted in the service in 1969 shows up for the festivities.

— Cheryl Reitan

 

 
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