125 years of MSUM history to be published

Cover of the new MSUM 125 year history book now available at MSUM bookstore.

Cover of the new MSUM 125 year history book now available at MSUM bookstore.

Since the beginning of April, ex-President Rolland Dille and archivist, Terry Shoptaugh, have been working together to create a commemorative history book in celebration of the school’s 125th anniversary.
The history book, available now for purchase at the bookstore, is split into five parts and themed by the five “identities” of the school throughout its history. They are: Moorhead Normal School (1888-1921); Moorhead State Teacher’s College (1921-1957); Moorhead State College (1957-1975);Moorhead State University (1975-2000) and Minnesota State University Moorhead (2000-Present). The book holds pictures, interviews and shows the history of the school’s past all the way to the more recent times of spring 2013.
“We decided to put in five sections and try to let the student perspectives tell us how the school has changed, how the whole focus on higher education has changed,” Shoptaugh said. “We’ve carried it all the way up to 2013, with our last one from a student who graduated just this last spring,” Shoptaugh said.
Finding first-hand accounts from students, faculty and administrators, Dille and Shoptaugh wanted to show just what it is like to not only be a student at MSUM, but what differences and similarities there are through the decades.
When Shoptaugh and Dille were asked by President Symanski to make a book to honor the school’s 125 year anniversary; they accepted with excitement. Shoptaugh, who is an archivist has access to much of MSUM’s history and records, and Dille, who has an incredible memory, were the perfect duo to create the perfect history book.
“The book gives you a feeling of what it’s like to be here and challenges of being an educator or being a student and shows that some things never really do change,” Shoptaugh said.
Throughout time one of the biggest changes have been tuition increases, which Shoptaugh said will also be included in the book. He also said that the book says “a little something” about each one of the presidents at MSUM, no matter how long they served as president.
“We keep forgetting you’re not just people who come here sit in the classes and write papers, but you live a life here. You can meet the friends you will know for the rest of your life,” Shoptaugh said. “It’s not just about getting a career. It’s an experience that will follow you from the rest of your life, so we want to tell it that way, whether it’s 1888 or 2013.”
Shoptaugh mentions that one of his favorite parts of writing the book was simply reading the stories. He also noticed that no matter what era it was, there were a lot of similarities that students shared.
“What you found out (after reading), is that students were kind of the same throughout time. They were anxious about their future, they felt like they were bowled over by the amount of work they had to do and they want something of a social life, so there is a lot of similarity,” Shoptaugh said. “It makes you look back partly and say, ‘boy, I’d really like to be young again,’ and then the other part is remembering and enjoying those years and how they made you who you really were.”
The book is full of funny, interesting, inspiring and even sad stories and shows “the many faces of MSUM.” The book is available now at locations such as the MSUM bookstore, Zandbroz in downtown Fargo and more locations to come.
For more information, visit the MSUM 125th history website at mnstate.edu/125th. The website also features a timeline where alumni can post their own exsperiences while attending MSUM. In addition, it provides a virtual tour where alumni can see the gradual changes to the MSUM campus.
BY BECKI DEGEEST
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