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Milestones and Celebrations

Ray Darland and Richard Griggs serve up anniversary cake
January 29, 2021

Alumni are the living history of UMD.


125 years of history

In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, UMD (University of Minnesota Duluth) celebrated 125 years of history. The year honored the academics endeavors, the dynamic alumni, and all of the achievements that continue to transform and benefit society.

UMD's story began on April 2, 1895, when Minnesota Governor David. M. Clough signed legislation approving the creation of the State Normal School at Duluth. In 1921, the Normal School became the Duluth State Teacher’s College and in 1947, the teacher's college was named the Duluth Branch of the University of Minnesota. UMD Comes of Age Over that time, there have been many anniversaries worth revisiting. Two notable events include UMD's 1995 celebration of its 100th anniversary, and UMD's 1972 commemoration of 25 years as a University of Minnesota campus.

100 years of celebrating people, ideas and achievements

The centennial celebration began years before the anniversary. Neil Storch, history professor, and Ken Moran, UMD photographer, embarked on a massive project, to write the 100-year history of UMD. Entitled, UMD Comes of Age: The First One Hundred Years, the book was published in 1995 and served as one of the focal points for many of the anniversary gatherings.

Harry Oden and Steve Fox were part of the 100th anniversary planning committee.

Harry Oden and Steve Fox were part of the 100th anniversary planning committee.

As the anniversary year loomed, a group of over 30 people came together to plan the events. See photo below. Alumnus Harry Oden, the celebration chair, along with Diane Fay Skomars, alumna and director of UMD University Relations and Development, worked with alumni, staff, and friends to plan UMD’s 100th anniversary celebration in 1995.

Lucy Kragness, also an alumna, who worked at UMD as the alumni director and later as the chief of staff, was a member of the team since its inception. She reminded everyone that, "Alumni are the living history of UMD." She wrote those words in 1995 in another alumni publication, Celebrating 100 Years: UMD Duluth.

That publication has a history as well. Alumnus Steve Fox, publisher of Minnesota Monthly magazine, helped UMD arrange for the piece to be inserted in an issue ot Minnesota Monthly, which was distributed across the state. Minnesota-Monthly insert Kragness, who wrote the prominent alumni section of the piece, visited the Minnesota Monthly office. “Steve was a lot of fun to work with,” she says. She also enjoyed working with the magazine staff to help put the publication together. 

And there was cake! The group planned reunions, dinners, homecoming, and other festivities. The main event was held on March 31, in the Marshall Performing Arts Center. Hundreds came to celebrate. Speeches and entertainment joined Michael Pagan's jazz ensemble, Synergy, and two slide presentations on the history of UMD.

100th Anniversary Committee

This photo shows the History Committee who planned UMD's 100th Anniversary in 1995. It captures the vibrancy of UMD's dedicated faculty, staff, and alumni. First row (l-r, seated): Harry Hellenbrand, Neale Roth, Bob Bridges, Frank McCray, Bruce Rutherford, Steve Hedman, Diane Fay Skomars. Second row (seated): Lawrence Ianni, Harry Oden, Jackie Moran, Susan Peterson, Mary Ellen Ianni, Ann Anderson, Gerry Heller, and James Shearer, Standing: Doris Pride, Cathy Baccus, Lucy Kragness, Paul Vesterstein, Ron Weber, Bruce Gildseth, Charles Heinrich, Richard Durst, Steve Fox, Neil Storch, James Vileta, Mike Lalich, Beth Brown, Maryann Solem.

25 years with full university status

UMD marked its milestones with pride. A 25th-year anniversary observance (1947-1972) honored the formation of the University of Minnesota Duluth. Celebratory dinners, campus events, and several cakes marked the milestone. There were gatherings at Eastcliff in St. Paul, hosted by Malcolm Moos, president of the University of Minnesota, and a recognition by the Board of Regents.

1972 faculty

On June 30, 1972, faculty and staff members with 25 years of service were special guests of Provost Darland at a 25th anniversary event. Top Row, l-r: Robert Falk (psychology), Arthur Smith (art), Thomas Chamberlin (geography), William McEwen (math), Valworth Plumb (education), Ward Wells (physical-education), Henry Ehlers (math), and Theron Odlaug (zoology). Seated: Howard Hanson (physics), Ellis Livingston (history), Maud Lindquist (history), unknown, James Maclear (history), and Gerhard von Glahn (political science).

Other faculty with 25-plus years of service in 1972: Addison Alspach, Lyda Belthuis, Dale Miller (music), Enid Nylander, Lloyd Peterson (physical-education), Richard Sielaff (business), Armas Tamminen (psychology), Ruth Van Appledorn (music), and Gordon Voss (industrial education).

UMD staff members with 25-plus years of service included Arthur Alvar, Ernest Anderson, Marcella Glad, Frances Lepak, Violet Lindblom, Joseph Lowney, William Maupins, Hilda Schumacher, and Dawn Wilson.

Celebrating UMD's Impact

All of these celebrations are fitting reminders of the importance of UMD. As time passes on, the UMD community continues to celebrate Duluth residents, who supported its growth, the academic environment that fostered inquiry, and the alumni who have made a lasting impact around the world. Go Dogs!

Read More About UMD Alumni and Their Stories:

2006 Chris Beasley: Gay Pride and Activism
2000 Debbie Waters Petersen: Boulder Lake
1986 Rual Lee: The Blue Heron
1985 Sherri Novitsky LeKang: Hockey Fever
1983 Susanna Frenkel: The Wise Woman Show on KUMD Radio
1983 David McMillan: The Growth of Industry
1983 Rolf Weberg Chemistry and Boosting Minnesota's Economy
1980 Elaine Hansen: Duluth and Small Businesses
1977 Susan (Elliott) Lyons: Bagley Nature Area
1976 Jerry Kaldor, Cris Levanduski: Elizabethan Dinners
1972 David Niib Aubid, Vern Zacher, and Jeff Savage: American Indian Studies
1973 Tom Larson, Kris "Fanny" (Thorberg) Swan '73, Bob Hofstrom '74; First Street Gang
1969 Carrie (Maupins) Lindahl, Sylvia (Maupins) Herndon '71, Glen Kelly '71 and Diana (Coleman) Kelly
  The Library's Civil Rights Collection
1968 Archie J. Vomachka, Ed Bersu '68, Jon Vomachka '72,
  Prof. Theron O. Odlaug:  Plankton Study on Lake Superior
1963 Harry Oden: Basketball Star and UMD Supporter
1959 John Hatten: From Grade School to University Leadership
1959 Jerry “Lorenzo” Music and Myrna “Henrietta” Johnson Music: Life and Comedy
1957 Ann Carlson Anderson: Music, Orchestras, and Violins
1951 William Maupins: Chemistry and UMD and Minnesota's Civil Rights
1947 Dan Devine, William “Bill” Bianco '48, Kathleen "Kitty" Bocklund '48: After WWII
1918 Helia Branwell: Early Elementary Schools

Banner photo (above): Chancellor Ray Darland (far left) and University of Minnesota Regent Richard Griggs serve anniversary cake to Regent Frederick A. Cina (far right) and his wife, Ruth.