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UMD's 125th Anniversary

State Normal School, 1895 to 1921

Duluth Normal School in 1895, a large brick building.

The State Normal School at Duluth in 1895

April 2, 1895: Minnesota Governor David. M. Clough signed legislation approving the creation of the State Normal School at Duluth. The City of Duluth was required to donate six acres of land for the campus.

April 1896: Six acres of land at Twenty-third Avenue East and Fifth Street were donated by the City of Duluth and the Duluth Board of Education as a site for the new Normal School.

1897: The Minnesota State Legislature made an appropriation of $5,000 to build a foundation for the Normal School building.

1899: The Minnesota State Legislature appropriated $75,000 for erecting the "Main" building for the State Normal School at Duluth. Half of the funds were available in 1900, the rest in 1901. 

February 1901: A fire left only black walls of the original "Main" building structure. The heavily insured building was reconstructed.

April 1901: Dr. Eugene W. Bohannon of the Mankato Normal School was selected as president of the State Normal School at Duluth at a salary of $2,500 per year.

September 1902: The State Normal School at Duluth started registration and operations.

Eugene Bohannon

Eugene Bohannon

June 1903: Seven women received the first diplomas granted by the State Normal School at Duluth

September 1906: Washburn Hall, a "ladies dormitory," was completed and opened. It cost $35,000.

1909: A west wing costing $60,000 was added to the Main Building.

September 1910: Torrance Hall opened as a dormitory.

1915: An east wing was added to the Main Building, and construction of the auditorium began.

1916: The State Normal School at Duluth raised its admission standards by requiring a high school diploma.

Duluth State Teachers College, 1921-1947

April 1921: The Normal School at Duluth was renamed the Duluth State Teachers College (DSTC). 

September 1923: A four-year curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Education degree was offered for the first time.

Children on the steps of a school building.

Laboratory School students sitting in front of Old Main.

May 1927: The new laboratory school and heating plant were dedicated.

June 1927: The first bachelor degrees were awarded at DSTC.

May 1929: The State Teachers College Board established a four-year course at DSTC. The new course qualified students for every kind of public school work.
October 1929: Less than forty men were enrolled in DSTC in 1929. By 1931, more than two hundred men were enrolled. Men remained a minority, about 20 percent, from 1931 to 1937.

December 1929: The DSTC basketball team played its first scheduled game. The team lost 38-23 to Duluth Junior College.

September 1930: DSTC played its first football game against Northland College.

January 1931: The first DSTC hockey game was played against Duluth Central High School

1933: School athletes chose the bulldog as the school's mascot.

March 1937: University of Minnesota President Lotus D. Coffman issued a document opposing branches of the University in Minnesota.

Olcott Hall with students sitting outside, 1940s.

Olcott Hall, 1940s.

May 1937:  Dr. E. W. Bohannon, 68 years old, announced his plan to retire in January.

August 1937: Dr. Herbert F. Sorenson, professor of education at the University of Minnesota, was named to succeed Bohannon. Sorenson was president from 1938 to 1946.

1937: A. I. Jedlicka wrote a bill that would require the Regents of the University of Minnesota to establish a branch in the city of Duluth.

May 1940: The last "May Fete" ceremony was held at DSTC.

1941: Olcott Hall, 23rd Avenue East and First Street, was formally accepted by DSTC. It was presented by Mrs. Dorothy Olcott Elsmith of New York and her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Olcott Ford of La Jolla, California, daughters of J. W. Olcott, a former president of the Oliver Iron Mining Company. The home was remodeled for use as a music conservatory. 

Raymond Gibson

Raymond Gibson

March 1946: Warren Stewart of St. Cloud, president of the State Teachers College Board, heard complaints against the administration of DSTC President Herbert Sorenson. Some faculty claimed that conditions had deteriorated since 1944. Later, "In an atmosphere charged with tension and tears," Dr. Herbert F. Sorenson announced his resignation at a special assembly. Dr. E. H. Pieper was immediately named acting president.

May 1946: Thirty-six-year-old Dr. Raymond C. Gibson, director of teachers' training at Central State Teachers College, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, was elected president of DSTC, effective July 1.

August 1946: The Minnesota State Teachers College Board approved DSTC becoming a four-year liberal arts college, beginning in the fall of 1946.

February 1947: The city planning commission reserved a vacant 160-acre diamond-shaped property west of Woodland Avenue, called the "Nortondale Tract," as a possible site for the proposed University of Minnesota branch.

University of Minnesota, Duluth Branch: 1947 to 1959

February 1947:  The Minnesota House began consideration of a bill by Representative A. B. Anderson for the conversion of the DSTC into a branch of the University of Minnesota.

A black and white aerial shot of the UMD campus in 1953.

The UMD campus in 1953

July 1947: The name and organization of the college were changed to University of Minnesota, Duluth Branch (UMD). UMD was established as a branch college of the University of Minnesota with permission to grant the Associate in Arts, Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelor of Science degrees. Raymond C. Gibson, DSTC president, would be retained as head of UMD with the title "Provost."

August 1948:  An Air Force ROTC unit was authorized for the UMD campus.

October 19, 1948: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Science Building, the first building to be constructed on the “upper campus.” It opened in 1951. In 1973, the name was changed to the Chemistry Building. 

Streets signs pointing to "old campus," "physical ed," "library," and "science."

Street signs pointing to the new campus buildings, 1955.

April 1949: Provost Gibson announced that, beginning with the 1949 summer session, graduate level courses would be offered at UMD.

June 1950: Provost Gibson announced his resignation, effective June 30, to join the education division of the Inter-American Affairs Institute as chief administrator in Lima, Peru.

June 1951: Acting Provost John E. King, who had served in this capacity since June 1950, was appointed provost at the University Regents meeting in St. Paul on June 1, 1951

John E. King

John E. King

June 1951: UMD received two large residences from Mr. and Mrs. Royal D. Alworth, Sr. The properties were located at 2605 and 2617 East Seventh Street and were adjacent to the George P. Tweed mansion (site of the first Tweed Gallery) given to UMD in 1950.

July 1951: Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Health and Physical Education Building were held. The building was occupied September 14, 1953, and was dedicated on December 12, 1953. The building was renamed Romano Gymnasium in honor of Ralph A. Romano on January 16, 1988. Total project cost: $1,602,000.

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

June 1953: Provost King announced his resignation to accept the presidency of Kansas State Teachers College at Emporia, effective in September.

A brick building under construction, with 1950s style cars outside.

The UMD library under construction, 1950s.

July 1953: A sixteen-acre tract of wooded land adjoining the UMD campus was given to the Board of Regents by Dr. and Mrs. William R. Bagley and their daughter Dr. Elizabeth C. Bagley. With this donation, UMD had a 196-acre campus. This gift, along with the Rock Hill gift of 1951, was dedicated as the Bagley Nature Area in 1974.

September 1953: Dr. Raymond W. Darland, academic dean and acting provost, was named UMD's third provost.

September 1953: UMD received a gift of $400,000 from Stephen R. Kirby toward the building of a student center.

October 1953: Master of Arts degrees were offered through the Graduate School at UMD.

A man sitting behind a desk

Raymond Darland

April 1954: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the UMD Library. Dedication ceremonies were held February 24, 1956, with an address by Vice President Malcolm Willey.

September 1954: Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Kirby Student Center, with Stephen R. Kirby turning the first spade of earth. Kirby opened on June 21, 1956.

November 1954: Construction of Vermilion Hall began. Units were occupied in the fall of 1956.

May 1956: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Humanities Building and Tweed Gallery. The new Tweed Gallery, within the Humanities Building, was dedicated in 1958. Construction began for the Mathematics-Geology Building (renamed Heller Hall on September 30, 1988). The building was completed in the spring of 1965.

September 1956:  UMD joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

A large building under construction.

Cina Hall under construction.

November 1956: A campus radio station began broadcasting at 940 on the AM dial from the basement of Washburn Hall with a quarter watt of power. Call letters KUMD were officially assigned in April 1958.

April 1958: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Social Science Building (renamed Cina Hall on May 4, 1958, for former University Regent Fred Cina).

May 1958:  Construction for Burntside Hall began. A public open house was held a year later.

May 1958: Olcott Hall, former home of UMD's Music department since 1939, was sold.

October 1958: Tweed Gallery was officially named and dedicated.

University of Minnesota Duluth: 1959 to present

June 1959: The Board of Regents unanimously voted to change the campus name from University of Minnesota, Duluth Branch, to the University of Minnesota, Duluth. The comma after Minnesota was used until 1999.

September 1960: Construction began for the Education Building (renamed Bohannon Hall on May 22, 1974 to honor Eugene W. Bohannon, first president of the Normal School at Duluth and Duluth State Teachers College). The dedication was held on April 11, 1962. The project was completed in the summer of 1966.

October 1960: Mrs. Alice Tweed Tuohy was the first woman honored with the University of Minnesota Regents Award.

November 1960: Construction began on the Industrial Education Building (renamed Voss-Kovach Hall on October 9, 1982). The building opened for classes in February 1962, and an official dedication was held on April 5, 1963.

February 1961: Eric Sevareid, CBS News, gave the first Dalton A. LeMasurier Memorial lecture. The lecture series honored the memory of Duluthian Dalton LeMasurier, founder of KDAL-TV.

September 1963: President John F. Kennedy addressed delegates to the Northern Great Lakes Region Conference on Land and People in the UMD Physical Education Building.

Five men standing behind a door that is barred with a ribbon. One of the men is preparing to cut the ribbon.

The Campus Club dedication, 1964.

October 1964: The newly completed UMD Campus Club was dedicated.

October 1965: Construction of the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium began. Marshall W. Alworth provided funds for the building. It was completed in the spring of 1967 and dedicated in June 1967.

November 1965: The bronze statue of French explorer Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, created by sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, was unveiled in conjunction with the dedication of a major addition to Tweed gallery.

August 1966: Groundbreaking ceremonies for Griggs Stadium were held. The stadium was named to honor Regent Richard Griggs, who retired in 1962 after 24 years.

September 1966: Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Life Science Building were held. The building was occupied in 1968.

September 1968: UMD announced that it would sponsor the University Artist Series, a concert series featuring outstanding national and international musicians.

October 1968: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Classroom-Office Building (renamed A. B. Anderson Hall in honor of prominent Duluth legislator A. B. Anderson on September 8, 1973). The building was occupied in the fall of 1970.

June 1969: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for Lake Superior Hall. It was completed during the summer of 1971.

December 1969: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Administration Building (renamed Darland Administration Building on March 12, 1982, to honor Provost Emeritus Raymond W. Darland). The building was occupied in the summer of 1971.

April 1970: Plans for apartment-style housing using prebuilt modular units (the original Village Apartments) were announced. Completion was set for the fall quarter.

A student seen through a kitchen pass-through, cleaning an apartment countertop.

A student in one of the units of the Village Apartments (later Stadium Apartments.)

July 1971: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Residence Hall Dining Center. The center was occupied in July 1974.

August 1971: The Air Force ROTC program announced it would begin enrolling women in the fall of 1971.

September 1971: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for Marshall Performing Arts Center, and the dedication was held on February 3, 1974. It was named after the parents of Julia and Caroline Marshall and Jessica Marshall Spencer (Albert and Julia N. Marshall) who were donors to the university. The Dudley Experimental Theatre (a black-box theatre within MPAC) was named for another donor, Marjorie Congdon Dudley.

November 1971: A plan to develop UMD into a major "University Center" was explained to media by Provost Darland and Vice Provost for Academic Administration David Vose. The plan envisioned the development of a School of Business, School of Fine Arts, Lake Superior Basin Studies Program, and Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

June 1972: Groundbreaking began for Stadium Apartments.

July 1972: Groundbreaking began for the Classroom-Laboratory Building (renamed Marshall W. Alworth Hall). The building was completed in the summer of 1974.

September 1972: The first class of twenty-four students at UMD School of Medicine began their program.

1973: Black Student Association established.

July 1973: Groundbreaking began for the Physical Education Field House. The building was occupied on March 10, 1975. It was named for Ward M. Wells on October 1, 1993. Wells was head of UMD’s physical education department for many years.

1974: Indigenous Student Association (formerly known as the Anishinabe Club) is established.

October 1974: The Board of Regents approved UMD’s academic reorganization from four divisions to two colleges and four schools: College of Letters and Science, College of Education, School of Business and Economics, School of Medicine, School of Fine Arts, and School of Social Work.

1975: The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (student organization) is established.

February 1976: Provost Darland announced his resignation as of June 30, 1976 after 28 years at UMD, 23 of them as provost.

A man standing in a lab with rock specimens.

Robert Heller

June 1976: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the UMD School of Medicine. The building was occupied on February 19, 1979, and a dedication ceremony was held on September 15.

October 1976: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Health Science Library. The building was occupied in the fall of 1977.

1977: International Club (student organization) is established.

January 1977: Robert L. Heller was named provost at UMD to succeed Raymond W. Darland. Heller had been acting provost since 1976.

November 1977: University President C. Peter Magrath opened the Court Gallery at Tweed Museum of Art.

November 1977: The University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program was officially established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

April 1978: Construction began on Junction Avenue Apartments (renamed Cuyuna Hall and Mesabi Hall on March 12, 1982).

1979: Women's Resource and Action Center is established.

January 1979: The combined estates of brothers Jonathan, Simon, and Milton Sax were bequeathed to the Tweed Museum of Art. A one million dollar gift for the purchase of original artworks came from the Milton Sax estate. Paintings, sculpture, and other artworks were to be purchased from the interest of the "Simon, Milton, and Jonathan Sax Purchase Fund." In 1987, the Sax gift funded construction of the Sax Gallery, a sculpture conservatory.

May 1979: The Northern Bible Society of Duluth presented UMD with one of the largest Bible collections in the U.S.

July 1979: Glensheen, the 39-room Congdon mansion that was gifted to the University of Minnesota, was opened to public tours for the first time. In the first five days, 3,800 persons toured the mansion and grounds.

Gardens, mansion and a carriage house with Lake Superior behind them.

A postcard from Glensheen.

October 1979: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the School of Business and Economics Building. The building was occupied in the fall of 1981 and the dedication was held on March 7, 1982.

September 1980:  The first Study-in-England group of students left for a year at the University of Birmingham in England.
George "Rip" Rapp, professor of geoarchaeometry and the director of the Archaeometry Lab at UMD, was named a Regents' Professor of the University of Minnesota, the first from a campus outside of the Twin Cities, and one of only 20 systemwide.

October 1980: The Duluth chapter of the Minnesota Education Association (UMDEA) became the first faculty bargaining unit in a runoff election with American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

November 1980: Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for Oakland Avenue Apartments (individually named Oak, Aspen, Birch, and Basswood Halls).

July 1983: The Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) was created by Governor Rudy Perpich, Minnesota legislators, and community leaders.

March 1984: UMD's hockey Bulldogs won the WCHA title by defeating North Dakota 12-6.

September 1984: Establishment of the annual Albert Tezla Scholar/ Teacher Award was announced by Donald K. Harriss, vice provost for academic administration.

Students in a class discussion

Students in an Indian Studies class, 1980.

1985: UMD’s American Indian Learning Resource Center opens. 

June 1986: Chancellor Heller announced his retirement from the University, effective June 30, 1987.

July 1986: NRRI reached an agreement with the U.S. Steel mineral research laboratory at Coleraine. The agreement included the sale of laboratory and research equipment at the Coleraine facility and the lease of portions of land, several buildings, and some mobile equipment.

December 1986: The new Engineering Building opened.

May 1987: UMD's theatre production Homesteaders was judged best in the region and was selected by the American College Theatre Festival to be performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. A second production, Blue Collar Blues, also won both awards in 

Lawrence Ianni

Lawrence Ianni

1989 and a third production, Standing on My Knees, won both awards again in 1991.

July 1987: Lawrence A. Ianni took office as chancellor at UMD. Ianni was formerly provost and vice president for academic affairs at San Francisco State University.

June 1989: A complex of three new UMD residence halls was named Goldfine Hall at a dedication ceremony honoring Erwin L. Goldfine, who served twelve years on the Board of Regents before retiring in 1987.

1990: Latinx/Chicanx Student Association (formerly known as the Hispanic Organization) is established.

1991: The UMD Athletic Hall of Fame is established. It now consists of 140 distinguished members, representing 21 sports.

1991: Asian Pacific Student Association (formerly known as Southeast-Asian-American Student Organization) is established.

1991: SERVE (student organization) is established.

A large brick building after a fire.

Old Main after the 1993 fire.

1993: Access for All (student organization) established.

February 1993: Old Main, UMD's original building on the lower campus built at the turn of the century, was destroyed in an arson fire the night of February 22. The site later was donated to the City of Duluth for a park.

May 1993: The School of Medicine, Duluth campus, was selected for a special recognition achievement award by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

May 1994: Chancellor Ianni announced he would step down after serving as UMD's chancellor since 1987.

September 1994: A Library Building task force was appointed. The task force sought support to erect a new library building.

Bill Clinton stands on a stage in front of an American flag, with applauding student in front of him.

Bill Clinton in Kirby Ballroom, 1994

November 1994: President Bill Clinton appeared at a political rally at UMD.

March 1995: A 100-year birthday celebration for UMD was held in MPAC.

October 1995: The new UMD Campus Center was dedicated "The Wedge." A separate dedication for the Campus Center sculptures, "Untitled," commissioned from Minneapolis sculptor Steven Woodward, was held in the Campus Center plaza.

A woman in academic regalia standing behind a podium.

Kathryn Martin's inauguration, 1995.

November 1995: Kathryn A. Martin, formerly dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, was inaugurated as eighth chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is the first woman chancellor in the University of Minnesota system.

1997: UMD purchased a vessel built in 1985 for fishing on the Grand Banks. The Blue Heron is converted into a limnological research vessel during the winter of 1997–98 and outfitted with state-of-the-art research equipment with berthing for 11 crew and scientists.

A large blue sailboat

The "Blue Heron" research vessel.

1999: The comma was dropped and the university’s name becomes the University of Minnesota Duluth. 

1999: Queer and Allied Student Union (formerly known as University Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance) is established.

September 2000: UMD’s new library, designed by Duluth architect Ken Johnson, SJA, opened. The building, comprised of 167,570 gross square feet, cost $26 million. A glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly hangs from the ceiling of the two-story library lobby. 

March 25, 2001: The Women’s Hockey team earned the NCAA Division I national championship by defeating St. Lawrence University with a score of 4–2.
2002: The Women’s Hockey team won its second NCAA Division I national by defeating Brown University with a score of 3–2.

October 2002: Weber Music Hall, designed by world-famous architect Cesar Pelli, cost $9.2 million. It was funded, in part, by a generous donation from Mary Ann and Ron Weber, who met at UMD while they were students. 

The interior of a music hall

Weber Music Hall interior.

2003: The Women’s Hockey team won its third NCAA Division I national championship, defeating Harvard University with a score of 4–3, in double overtime.

2004: The Multicultural Center opened. Its mission is to enhance academic achievement, create a sense of belonging, celebrate diversity, and foster positive relations among UMD students, faculty and staff. 
The Oromo Student Association is established.

September 2005: The James I. Swenson Science Building, designed by Carol Ross Barney, Ross Barney Associates, Chicago, Illinois, opened. The 110,000 gross square-foot building was named for alumnus Jim Swenson ‘59, who together with his wife, Susan, made a generous donation to fund the building.
June 2006: The 80-foot-tall steel sculpture Wild Ricing Moon by sculptor John David Mooney was installed on the lawn across from the Swenson Science Building. 
September 2006: The 46,000 gross square-foot UMD Sports and Health Center opened. In spring 2001, UMD students voted to contribute $4 million toward the center. The Minnesota Legislature then authorized $8.4 million in spring 2005 to complete the project. It was designed by RDG Planning & Design. 

A large statue: a white circle bisected by a red crane.

The Wild Ricing Moon

2007: National Society of Black Engineers is established.

2008: The Women’s Hockey team won its fourth NCAA Division I national championship, defeating the University of Wisconsin, 4–0.

2008: The Labovitz School of Business and Economics was named for the Labovitz family: alumnus Joel, his wife Sharon, and their three children. Their generous gift paved the way for further legislative funding. The total cost of the facility was $23 million. It was designed by Ralph E. Johnson, Perkins+Will, Chicago, Illinois. 

December 13, 2008: The undefeated Bulldogs won the NCAA Division II National Football Championship, defeating Northwest Missouri State.

September 3, 2009: Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin announced her retirement, effective July 31st, 2010.

July 31, 2010: The Women’s Hockey team won its fifth NCAA Division I national championship, defeating Cornell with a score of 3–2, in triple overtime.

2010: The James I. Swenson Engineering Building opened. It houses UMD’s civil engineering program. The building was funded, in part, by Jim and Susan Swenson. The total cost of the building was $15 million and was designed by Carol Ross Barney, Ross Barney Associates, Chicago, Illinois. 
2010: Bagley Classroom, designed as a multi-purpose space for all UMD Departments, was designed by Duluth architect David Salmela.

Chancellor Black

Chancellor Lendley Black.

August 1, 2010: Lendley C. Black began his tenure as the ninth chancellor of UMD. Before becoming UMD’s chancellor, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.

December 18, 2010: The Football team won their second Division II national title, defeating Delta State 20–17.

April 9, 2011: The Men’s Hockey team defeated the University of Michigan, 3–2 in overtime, to win its first NCAA Division I Championship. 

October 7, 2013: The UMD Library is renamed the Kathryn A. Martin Library in honor of former Chancellor Martin.

2017: Hmong Living in Unity and Balance (student organization) is established.

April 7, 2018: The Men’s Hockey team captured its second national championship with a 2–1 win over the University of Notre Dame.

April 13, 2019: The Men’s Hockey team captured its third championship (and second consecutive one), with a 3–0 win over the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

August 9, 2019: The three story, 56,000 sq. ft. Heikkila Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science building held its grand opening. It is named for benefactors Kurt and Beth Heikkila. The HCAMS building is the home of the Heikkila Advanced Materials Center.

October 14, 2019: UMD formalizes a Land Acknowledgment statement to recognize its location on tribal land. The Land Acknowledgment was endorsed by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council on June 4, 2019.

Dates on this timeline prior to 1996 were gathered from Moran, K. & Storch, N. (1996). UMD Comes of Age. Virginia Beach: Donner Company.