University of Minnesota Morris
The University of Minnesota Morris (UMM) is a public liberal arts college and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges located in Morris, Minnesota. As part of the University of Minnesota system, it was founded in 1960 as a public, co-educational, residential liberal arts college offering Bachelor of Arts degrees.
|Motto||A renewable, sustainable education|
|Type||Public Liberal Arts College|
Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution
|University of Minnesota System|
|Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Colors||Maroon & Gold|
|NCAA Division III – UMAC|
|Mascot||Pounce the Cougar|
West Central School of Agriculture and Experiment Station Historic District
The former Girls' Dormitory (left) and Agricultural Hall (right)
|Location||600 East 4th Street, Morris, Minnesota|
|Area||42 acres (17 ha)|
|Architect||Clarence H. Johnston Sr., et al.|
|NRHP reference #||02001707|
|Designated HD||January 15, 2003|
Although UMM officially opened its doors in 1960, the history of what became the current institution reaches to 1887. That year, the first building of the Morris Industrial School for Indians, an American Indian boarding school, was constructed on the site and run by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy under contract to the US government. Beginning in 1898, the Office of Indian Affairs (today's Bureau of Indian Affairs) took over operations to introduce a more progressive curriculum. The school closed in 1909, under a congressionally authorized program to reduce the number of boarding schools in preference for locating schools on reservations, so that families and communities would not be broken up. The campus was transferred to the State of Minnesota under the agreement that American Indians would always be admitted free of tuition; the current UMM still follows this policy.
In 1910 the University of Minnesota established a coeducational residential high school on the campus called the West Central School of Agriculture (WCSA). This was one of four such schools established by the University in outstate Minnesota to provide agricultural and home economics education to rural youth. The complex also included an agricultural research station. The WCSA operated for half a century, but declining enrollment in the late 1950s prompted the University of Minnesota to phase out its regional agricultural schools. The residents of the Morris region convinced the university to develop the campus as four-year college. The University of Minnesota Morris opened in September 1960, phasing in college classes year by year while phasing out the last high school class, which graduated in 1963.
The only surviving building from the Morris Industrial School for Indians, an 1899 dormitory, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The oldest building on campus, it now serves as UMM's Multi-Ethnic Resource Center. In 2003 a historic district consisting of the dormitory and 10 buildings from the WCSA period was listed on the National Register as the West Central School of Agriculture and Experiment Station Historic District. It was listed for having national significance in the themes of agriculture and education. The district was nominated for being an excellent example of a residential agricultural high school, one of the longest running in the nation and one of the most intact. It was also a significant component of the University of Minnesota's nationally influential system of such facilities, and an important contributor to education and agriculture in west-central Minnesota.
The WCSA campus buildings were mostly designed by state architect Clarence H. Johnston Sr. in American Craftsman style and built in the 1910s and 20s. The 11 contributing properties of the historic district consist of the Music Hall (1899, previously the Indian School boys' dormitory and now the Multi-Ethnic Resource Center), the Girls' Dormitory (1912, now Camden Hall), Spooner Hall (1912–13), the Cattle Barn (1914, now the Saddle Club Barn), the Engineering Building (1915, now the Welcome Center), the Dining Hall (1918, now Behmler Hall), Senior Hall (1920, now Blakely Hall), Agricultural Hall (1920–21, now John Q. Imholte Hall), the Infirmary (1923–24, now the Education Building), Junior Hall (1926, now Pine Hall), and the Seed House (1929).
Morris offers 35 majors and 32 minors, 13 education licensure areas, and nine pre-professional programs in education, the humanities, science and mathematics, and the social sciences.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the five most popular majors on campus are Psychology, General; English Language and Literature, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Business Administration and Management, General; and Economics, General.
Morris strives to offer high-caliber academics at an affordable cost. It has been ranked as a Top Ten Public Liberal Arts College by Forbes magazine fifteen times. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked UMM 155th in the "National Liberal Arts Colleges" list and #7 in "Top Public Schools" for Liberal Arts Colleges. Washington Monthly ranked UMM the #36 "Best Bang for Your Buck" school in 2014. In May 2011, Consumers Digest ranked UMM in its "Top 5 Values in Public Colleges and Universities".[third-party source needed] During the fall of 2010, both U.S. News & World Report and Forbes ranked UMM among their “Best College” lists. Morris was ranked 70th in the "Top Public Schools in the National Liberal Arts Colleges" category and made the Top 100 list of "Best Colleges: Most Students Studying Abroad" in U.S. News. A significant number of Morris graduates enroll in advanced degree programs following graduation.
The music discipline provides performing opportunities such as choir, symphonic winds, jazz ensembles, orchestra, and recitals.
The annual jazz festival was founded by Jim "Doc" Carlson in 1979. World-renowned jazz artists are invited to host clinics and master classes for high school, community, and college jazz ensemble. Each night of the festival concludes with performances by student jazz combos, ensembles, and the guest artists backed by Morris Jazz I.
In August 2009, Mother Jones Magazine chose the University of Minnesota Morris as one of its top 10 "cool schools" in the United States, stating that the school is great for alternative energy enthusiasts.
Morris is one of the first public colleges to generate on-site renewable power from local resources, such as corn stover. At the south edge of campus, a biomass gasification plant—fueled by crop residues from nearby farms—generates steam. The biomass gasifier is part of an integrated system for heating and cooling campus buildings. The combined heat and power system includes a steam turbine, which generates renewable electricity from gasifier steam, and a steam—powered absorption chiller.
At the campus's Regional Fitness Center, locally manufactured solar thermal panels collect the sun's energy to heat swimming pool water. A solar photovoltaic system on the south side of the science building converts sunlight into electricity. On the glacial ridge overlooking the campus, two 1.65 megawatt wind turbines generate renewable electricity for the campus and the region. Shifting to renewable power is just one piece of the campus's comprehensive sustainability strategy. Other measures include historic building reuse, green building design and construction, conservation, local foods programs, hybrid vehicles, innovative curriculum, and community outreach. The Morris campus is a nationally recognized sustainability leader and serves as a model community.
In August 2013 the University of Minnesota Morris opened the Green Prairie Living and Learning Community. Construction on the building began in December 2012. The building is designed to house 72 students including 4 community advisors and a hall director. The building will house students during summer for special events and camps. There are kitchen facilities, a central lounge and patio, and study space. The Green Prairie Living and Learning Community was designed to meet Minnesota B3 sustainability guidelines and LEED Gold certification. It is constructed with high thermal mass insulated concrete forms (ICF) to prevent winter heat loss and summer heat gain. This is the first Residence Hall on the Morris campus to have suites.
UMM's athletic teams have experienced varied success during the school's history. The 1970s were marked by success in basketball and football. Olympic wrestler, Dennis Koslowski, wrestled for the Cougars in the early 1980s. After a move in the early 1990s as a non-scholarship Division II and a brief experiment with athletic scholarships, Cougar athletics found a more appropriate home in NCAA Division III's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. They are the first member of the UMAC to be a public, state-supported institution – all other members over the years were private institutions, usually with a religious affiliation.
UMM was, in 1993, the first college in the United States to sponsor women's wrestling as an official varsity sport. The wrestling programs were cut in 2003 due to budget constraints. In 2006, a new men's soccer team was announced.
In 2006, UM Morris opened a new football stadium named Big Cat Stadium, just south of the school's Regional Fitness Center. BCS is also used by the Morris Area High School Tigers. The new stadium replaced Cougar Field which had been used from 1970 to 2005. The school's first football field, named Miller Field, was used from 1961 to 1969.
In 2006, the Minnesota Morris Cougars football team captured their first UMAC championship in the Hubert H. Humphry Metrodome signaling the end of coach Ken Crandall's coaching career at UMM. The last conference title for the Cougar football program was the Northern Intercollegiate Conference (NIC) title in 1987, the second of two straight NIC titles. Over the next three years, the Cougars suffered losing records under coach Todd Hickman. In 2010, the team overcame their preseason rating (tied for last) to end the season with a winning record (5–4) and ending in a three-way tie for 3rd in the conference. 2016 record (4-6) 2017 record (6-4), undefeated at home.
University students operate the radio station "the U-90 alternative, the prairie's only alternative" 89.7 FM (KUMM). The University produces a television program that airs on PBS stations in the state. Pioneer Public Television carries Prairie Yard and Garden. UMM also has a student-run publication: The University Register, a newspaper which is published weekly.
The residence halls on campus are:
- Clayton A. Gay Hall (Gay Hall) – Underclassmen Residence Hall. Also home to Student Health Services and the Office of Residential Life (ORL).
- David C. Johnson Independence Hall (Indy Hall) – Underclassmen Residence Hall
- Pine Hall – Underclassmen Residence Hall
- Blakely Hall – Upperclassmen Residence Hall (inactive during the 2013–2014 year)
- Spooner Hall – Upperclassmen Residence Hall
- On-Campus Apartments – Upperclassmen Apartment Housing
- Green Prairie Living and Learning Community – Underclassmen and Upperclassmen Residence Hall and Suites
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- Lorie Skjerven Gildea 1983 – Chief Justice for Minnesota Supreme Court
- Earl B. Olson 1932 – Founder and Chairman of Jennie-O Turkey Company
- Sara McMann (attended 98' & 99') – 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist in women's freestyle wrestling; currently a professional mixed martial arts fighter, competing in the Women's UFC bantamweight division
- Dennis Koslowski 1981 – team chiropractor, Minnesota Vikings. Owner, Koslowski Chiropractic Inc.
- Cy Thao 1995 – State of Minnesota House of Representatives
- Dana Veth 2006 – Bahamian footballer
- Joseph Ruud, better known by his ring name, Erick Rowan – professional wrestler, currently signed by the WWE.
- Rachel Brand - former Associate Attorney General of the United States
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