"The U of M started as a prep school in 1851, seven years prior to Minnesota becoming a state. It closed briefly during the Civil war but was reopened thanks to a man named John Pillsbury. William Watts Folwell was inaugurated as the first president of the U of M-Twin Cities on December 22, 1869.
"Maroon and Gold: In 1880 President Folwell asked English instructor Augusta Smith to choose colors for graduation and other occasions. She chose maroon and gold. The students and administration approved of the choice, and it’s stuck ever since."
Given that Minneapolis and St. Paul are, in fact, twin cities it makes sense that U of M would have one campus in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul. The campuses are connected by a bus line, but students usually try to choose classes that don’t necessitate the commute. The St. Paul campus is tends to focus on agricultural studies, so students who plan on studying the field are cautioned to live in Bailey Hall, the only residence hall in St. Paul.
The Minneapolis campus is further divided into two sections, the East and West Banks, by the Mississippi River. The East Bank covers 307 acres, and is considered the “main” part of campus for most students. It is also home to the most noteworthy architecture on campus, including the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, designed by Frank Gehry. Also of note is The Armory, in which military science classes take place, designed like a Norman castle.
The West Bank, connected by the Washington Avenue Bridge to the East Bank, stretches for 53 acres and is home to a variety of arts programs as well as the business department, the law school, and the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
The Twin Cities and the surrounding metropolitan areas are home to 3.5 million people. As the largest metropolitan area in the state, and the sixteenth largest in the country, the city is sure to have something for just about anyone. The parks system has been called the best in the country, and there are places for swimming, fishing, ice skating, or quiet reflection in the midst of lakes and waterfalls. Minneapolis also has a thriving nightlife (though students tell us that police are very strict about underage drinking) and, of course, champion sports teams, the Vikings, the Twins, and of course, U of M’s own Golden Gophers.
The smaller twin, St. Paul, is an equally exciting city for college students. Birthplace of F. Scott Fitzgerald and childhood home of Charles Schultz, the town has a rich cultural history, with theaters and live music venues including the Artists’ Quarter jazz club. The Minnesota State Fair, the largest state fair in the country, is held every year in St. Paul (just off-campus, in fact).
Each year, the student union, Wilson Commons, is transformed into an elegant ballroom for one night so that students can dress in formal wear and waltz the night away to the University Chamber Orchestra.
There are a number of traditions involving UMN football, including the annual game against the Wisconsin Badgers. The winner gets to take home Paul Bunyon’s Axe, a trophy made to commemorate their rivalry.
Herb Brooks played ice hockey at U of M and went on to coach the US hockey team to a gold medal at the 1980 Olympics.
Bob Dylan (attended) is an iconic singer and songwriter, best known for his 1960’s work.
Ric Flair is a 16-time world champion pro wrestler.
Rick Sanchez (1981) is a correspondent and anchor for CNN en Español
Yanni (1975) is a Greek pianist and composer.
U of M’s Golden Gophers compete at the Division I level of the NCAA and in the Big Ten conference. The Gophers are also members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Ice hockey, football, basketball, and wrestling are among the most popular and successful teams.
Minnesota has always been a top contender in several varsity sports. The wrestling team is a force to be reckoned with - for the last ten years, it has not placed lower than eighth in the NCAA and has secured three national championships.
In the past the Golden Gophers women’s hockey team has sent several gophers to the Olympics. Four former gophers have been on both the 2002 and 2006 Olympic teams, including Krissy Wendell, the 2006 U.S.A. team captain.
The U of M is also currently constructing the new TCF Bank Stadium for the football team which is scheduled to open for the 2009 season.
The U of M has several different levels of competitive sports to suit athletes and spectators alike. There are several intramural leagues including broomball, soccer, hockey, volleyball, and almost every other sport imaginable. Many club teams, such as lacrosse, crew, or rugby represent their school by traveling across the Midwest and sometimes the country for competitions.
Cheerleading was invented at U of M by Johnny Campbell.
U of M developed its own FTP (File Transfer Protocol) in 1991 called Gopher. The menu-based system helped pave the way for the popularization of the internet.
The school has a system of tunnels connecting all the buildings, called the Gopher Way. It’s one of the few such tunnel systems regularly open to students on a college campus.
There are four major dorms located in the same area of the East Bank campus, commonly referred to as The Superblock. These dorms house a majority of the on-campus student population, which creates a large living community and easy access to new acquaintances, study buddies, and friends. There is a grassy area at the center of the four buildings with basketball and volleyball courts for summer entertainment.
On the West Bank campus there is a large dorm called Middlebrook Hall. Most of the buildings on the West Bank are for arts and theater classes so a lot of students majoring in those fields are placed in Middlebrook to avoid a long walk to most of their classes. Middlebrook has its own dining hall and game room. There is a basketball hoop and grassy plaza behind the dorm for relaxing and seclusion from traffic. There is another dorm that houses most of the first- and second-year athletes because it is closer to the sports facilities than any of the other dorms.
On the St. Paul campus there is another large dorm with its own dining hall. All the entrances to the dorms on campus are locked and have security patrols at night. All have game rooms, vending machines, ice machines, and most have a small convenience store where you can buy pop, milk, mac and cheese, toothpaste, and other essentials. Also all dorms have a front desk with staff to help with any questions the residents may have and a full stock of movies and DVDs to rent completely free of charge.