The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 17 • Number 2 • Spring 2000


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The Hallowed Halls

(Left):Kirby Student Center remains at the heart of the campus. This event in 1985 was part of Homecoming activities.
(Right): The first class of the UMD Medical School arrived on campus in 1972.

UMD is getting ready for another big party! We're calling it UMD History Day, and it is planned for October 7-- timed to coincide with Homecoming. The event will include the dedication of six permanent heritage markers.

The markers commemorate the history of the Duluth Normal School, Duluth State Teachers College, Old Main, the formation of the University of Minnesota Duluth, the creation of the new campus and more. There are far too many details for each marker, but we are doing our best to fit in as much information as possible. The colorful markers, placed at the entrances to campus buildings, will include interesting   photos and descriptions.

But back to History Day. There will be a UMD History Photo Exhibit at Glensheen in October. It opens with a reception at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, October 6. October 7 begins with a Tally Ho that starts at Glensheen. We are expecting the Northwoods Carriage Club to bring horses and carriages. They will wind their way around the historic streets of Duluth. Meet your friends at the special UMD alumni booth at Glensheen to watch the start of the Tally Ho.

Lots more is planned for Homecoming including an alumni brunch, a parade featuring a Glensheen horse-driven carriage, and a football game.

A campus task force had so much fun preparing these markers, they wanted to share them with Bridge readers. The narrative that follows is taken from the text of the markers.

These great photos were a glimpse into life nearly half a century ago. We hope you enjoy looking back at UMD through the years.

The UMD History Day joins the University of Minnesota as we all celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the University system.

Historic Beginnings: The Duluth Normal School, Old Main, and The Duluth State Teachers College

It was 1895 when the Minnesota State Legislature gave the approval to establish a Normal School in Duluth. With a donation of six acres for the school's campus from the city as required by the state, the Duluth Normal School opened to students the fall of 1902 with 100 students. The Normal School was the first post-secondary institution in Duluth. Initially a two-year program designed to train elementary school teachers, the Normal School, later the four-year Duluth State Teachers College, was administrated by President Eugene W. Bohannon until 1938.

Designed by Palmer, Hall and Hunt of Duluth, Old Main was the only building on the original UMD campus until Washburn Hall, a women's dormitory, opened in 1906 and Torrance Hall, another women's dormitory, was built in 1910. Throughout its lifetime until closing in 1985, Old Main was used for administration offices, classrooms, library and performing space and artist studios.

Old Main burned to the ground on February 23, 1993, a few months before its conversion to apartments by a private developer. In a strange coincidence, the first Normal School building had also been gutted by fire on February 21, 1901 but rebuilt. In 1994, the University Alumni Association sold bricks salvaged from the building as a fundraiser. Today, three standing red sandstone arches from Old Main's doorways serve as a reminder of what was the centerpiece of UMD's campus.

In 1921, The Duluth State Teachers College was formed to provide four years of training for teachers. In 1927, a Laboratory School which served as a working, hands on school for teachers and a new heating plant were dedicated. That same year, the first bachelor's degrees were awarded at The Duluth State Teachers College. Many years later, the operations of UMD's medical school and the National Resources Research Institute (NRRI) were first housed in the Laboratory School building, which is still in use by the University as a research center.

It wasn't until 1947 that the Duluth State Teachers College officially became a coordinate college of the University of Minnesota. Governor Luther Youngdahl signed the bill on July 1, 1947. Enrollment for its first year as the University of Minnesota, Duluth Branch was 1,432 students.

Point of interest: In the 1950s, students called the winter trek between the Old Main campus and the Science Building on the Upper Campus "the Yukon Trail."

UMD Comes To the Upper Campus

According to Neil Storch's and Ken Moran's book, UMD Comes of Age: The First 100 Years, in 1947 the city of Duluth planning commission reserved a vacant 160-acre diamond shaped property west of Woodland Avenue near the Chester Park school as a possible site for the proposed University of Minnesota branch. A former hayfield for the Zenith Dairy, this property became known as the "Nortondale Tract." The land was purchased for UMD by Regent Richard L. Griggs and other prominent Duluthians in the late 1940s.

In 1951, northeastern Minnesota civic leaders viewed "UMD 1970," a scale model of the new UMD campus plan at Duluth's Kitchi Gammi Club. This integrated plan, formed under the leadership of Provost John E. King, provided the campus with the blueprint it followed for the next two decades.

The science building, completed in 1949, was the only building on the upper campus until 1953 when the Health and Physical Education Building was opened. Later the name changed to the Romano Gym. The library and student center initiative began in 1953 when the northern delegation to the state legislature fought for expanded facilities. Minnesota lawmakers, impressed by the enthusiasm of the northern delegation and its commitment to UMD, voted to appropriate $1.1 million.

In 1954, ground-breaking ceremonies were held for the UMD Library and the Kirby Student Center, both opening two years later. The adjoining buildings were designed to allow students and faculty to stay indoors during the long winter months through a connected series of covered walkways.

Point of interest: The 1951 Master Plan for the Upper Campus included provisions for people with disabilities.

UMD's Living Room: Kirby Student Center

"It's your living room," proclaimed copy from a 1956 student brochure for the newly opened Kirby Student Center. Duluth businessman and UMD supporter Steve Kirby was instrumental in establishing the student center which was named in his honor. In the 1950s, Kirby's Fine Arts Lounge was "the place to go if you are in the mood to listen to classical music or jazz, look at an art exhibit or listen to a poetry reading," and the game room was the place for ping pong, billiards or chess.

Considered the heart of the campus, the majority of students and staff still traverse through the Kirby Center every day. The Center was first remodeled in 1964 and then again from 1965-67 to expand food service; the Bull Pub, Rafters and a Campus Club for faculty were added. In 1971, administration moved its offices out of the Kirby Student Center, creating more room for student activities. From 1975 to 1976, an Information Desk and offices were added along with the completion of other refurbishing work. In 1981, the cafeteria was remodeled, Kirby Terrace was updated, and a garden room on the north ballroom terrace was completed. Since then, bookstores, eateries, gift shops, banking facilities, faculty dining, and social and recreational areas continue to serve students and faculty.

Point of interest: On average, a student walks through the Kirby Student Center seven times a day.

(Left): Commencement used to be held in the main auditorium
(Right): UM President Morrill holds Richard Griggs' daughter as they both examine the UMD master plan. While the campus today
differs from this plan, the concept of a campus with connected buildings has been retained.


The Three Homes of the UMD Library

UMD's first library was originally housed in the 1902 Old Main building on the lower campus until a new library was built on the upper campus in 1954-55. With increasing enrollment, additions were completed in 1964-65 and in 1966-67, providing room for 800 readers and shelving for 200,000 volumes. The Upper Campus library is expected to move 500,000 volumes to the new library this summer.

The architecture of the new UMD library, which will be completed in the fall of 2000, features a warm red brick exterior with stone trim, great expanses of windows in the reading rooms for natural light, and a two-story rotunda filled with panoramic views. The UMD Library was designed to be the most technologically-advanced library in Minnesota, modeled after the 1994 Grainger Engineering Library at the University of Illinois, which has been acknowledged as one of the most advanced high-tech libraries in the nation.

The 167,000 square-foot library will provide space for nearly 1,400 users and offers thirty group-study areas with network connections and online computer connections. The study areas will support lap-top or desktop computers with network access, including study tables, individual and group study rooms and study carrels. Students can also connect to the library from home via computer 24 hours a day.

Living on Campus: Student Residences

The upper campus design of the 1950s included student housing on campus, making UMD a residential campus. UMD's first residences for students were built directly above the Kirby Student Center and the UMD Library on a hillside facing Lake Superior. Vermilion Hall, named after a northern Minnesota lake, was the first dormitory on the upper campus completed in 1956. Burntside Hall, also named after a northern Minnesota lake, was completed in 1959 as part of the building boom on the upper campus. The buildings, designed in a single story, connected cottage style meant to encourage congenial student interaction, were intended to house women students on one side and male students on the other end.

School of Medicine

Health Professionals Schooled to Serve Small Towns and the Rural Midwest

The University of Minnesota Duluth's School of Medicine is a nationally recognized two-year medical school program focused on training family practice physicians to practice in rural areas. Within the School of Medicine, the University's Rural Health School coordinates medical education and training for nurses, pharmacists, physician's assistants, social workers and advanced nurse practitioners. It is also recognized for its significant research in a number of areas with interests as diverse as molecular brain biochemistry, rural health issues, toxicology, aging, cancer and vascular disease.

Since its opening in 1972, the School has consistently led the nation in the percentage of its students choosing family practice as a career choice.

The School is affiliated with the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis where UMD students transfer to complete their third and fourth years of medical training.

Strong Local Support for Medical School Concept

The impetus for a school of medicine in Duluth began in 1966 when Samuel H. Boyer, a Duluth cardiologist, and then Assistant Provost Robert L. Heller discussed the need for a medical school through a chance meeting on a plane to Minneapolis from Duluth.

The idea for a medical school was developed through the efforts of a small group of local physicians, UMD administrators and faculty. Dr. Boyer assembled a group of leaders from the Duluth business and medical community to form the Northern Minnesota Council on Medical Education to lobby for the school and raise funds.

Eventually, the two-year Duluth medical school was approved in the face of competing proposals from St. Paul and Rochester. In 1969, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $340,000 for planning.

Early Roots and Innovative Beginnings

UMD's School of Medicine was originally located on the Old Main campus in the former Laboratory School building at 2205 East Fifth Street. With Dr. Robert Carter as its first dean, the school accepted its first 24 students in the fall of 1972. That first year every medical student received a key to the school building, a tradition which continues today.

Two unique aspects of the medical school's curriculum have been the emphasis on the behavioral sciences and early exposure to patient care. A cornerstone of the school's training is the preceptorship program where a student lives with and shadows a rural family doctor several times a year. In 1990, the School received the prestigious National Rural Health Association's Outstanding Rural Health Program Award as a result of this program.

The School of Medicine moved to new facilities on the upper campus in 1979 near the science department area. The new building provided much-needed expanded research facilities, which were designed with faculty input.

In 1987, the Center of American Indian and Minority Health was established to coordinate the various Indian programs administered throughout the School. Gerald Hill, M.D., former president of the Association of American Indian Physicians, became the Center's director in 1990. The School has always held a strong commitment to the recruitment and training of American Indian students as part of its mission to encourage and educate practitioners of rural medicine.

In 1997, the School of Medicine building was expanded with a four-level addition which incorporated more student teaching space, a learning resource center and research facilities.

(Left): 1953, Note the Helath and Physical Education Building and the Chemistry Building in the upper right and the lower campus in the bottom left of the picture.
(Right): The Chemistry building, built in 1949, was the first building on the new campus.

Darland Administration Building                        

Dr. Raymond W. Darland served as the provost of the University of Minnesota Duluth from 1953 to 1976. Known for his gregarious personality, Darland was UMD personified to the Duluth community. His productive tenure was highlighted by the pursuit of ambitious building goals for campus expansion. During his twenty-three years as provost, the majority of buildings and facilities which now make up the campus were built, including a new administration building in 1970-71. This building was renamed in his honor in 1982 and now houses UMD's main administrative offices, including the Chancellor's Office.

Point of interest: Dr. Raymond W. Darland's pride in the expanded Upper Campus was apparent in his holiday cards which featured wintry photos of new campus buildings.

-- Janet Blixt

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