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, United States. A 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.
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 Indian 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 (at the time based only in the Twin Cities campus), established a boarding school on the campus called the West Central School of Agriculture. In the 1950s, the University of Minnesota began phasing out its regional agricultural school. The residents of the Morris region convinced the university to develop the campus as a liberal arts college. The current UMM opened in September 1960.
Several historic buildings of the West Central School of Agriculture and Experiment Station are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Multi-Ethnic Resource Center, the oldest building on campus, dates back to 1899. It was previously the Music Hall of the West Central School of Agriculture, and the boys' dormitory of the Morris Industrial School for Indians. Camden Hall, Spooner Hall, the Horse Barn, Welcome Center, Behmler Hall, Blakely Hall, Imholte Hall, Education Building, Pine Hall, and the Recycling Center all contribute to the Register. Most of these buildings were designed by Clarence H. Johnston Sr. in the Craftsman and Prairie School style.
Morris offers 35 majors and minors and eight pre-professional programs in education, the humanities, science and mathematics and social sciences.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the five most popular majors on campus are English language and literature, business administration and management, psychology, human services and political science and government.
In 2013, Forbes magazine ranked UMM 386th in the "America’s Top Colleges" list, and 90th in the "Best in the Midwest". US News listed UMM at #6 in "Top Public Schools" for Liberal Arts Colleges. In May 2011, Consumers Digest ranked UMM in the 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 sixth 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.
The music discipline provides performing opportunities such as choir, symphonic winds, jazz ensembles, 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 ensembles . 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 program was 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 Cougars 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.
The university operates the radio station " the U-90 alternative, the prairie's only alternative" 89.7 FM (KUMM), and produces at least three television programs that air on PBS stations in the state. Pioneer Public Television carries Prairie Yard and Garden, Academic Challenge and Minnesota Rivers and Fields. UMM also has a student-run publication: The University Register, a newspaper which is published weekly.
Since 2005, the university has held an annual film festival, referred to as the UMMys, in the spring. Past winners include: "The Amazing Adventures of Beeman", "Rumspringa: The Musical" (a story about the forbidden love between a young Amish girl and a robot), and "The Chancellor's Daughter".
The residence halls on campus are: