April 13 marks an important milestone at Minnesota State University. It was on that date in 1921 that the Minnesota state legislature designated the former Moorhead Normal School as the Moorhead State Teachers College (MSTC). With this new designation, which granted the authority to offer four-year degree programs for teachers-in-training, MSTC ushered in a new era—one in which the institution was fondly known to its students and alumni as “Moorhead State.” More importantly, becoming a teachers college extended and solidified the institution’s legacy of preparing school teachers for rural Minnesota and beyond.
One hundred years later, MSUM is no longer “Moorhead State” and we’ve evolved to offer a curriculum that prepares graduates for careers in dozens of fields in addition to teaching. We’ve also evolved to offer graduate degrees, including the doctorate. But our roots as a teachers college are still apparent. They’re evident in the large number of students who major in education-related programs, in the number of Fargo-Moorhead teachers (and principals and superintendents) who received their degrees at MSUM, and, more broadly, in our identity as a teaching university where the faculty-student relationship is a vital and fundamental part of the MSUM experience.
As we celebrate this centennial anniversary, it’s clear that MSUM will continue evolving to meet the needs of our students, their future employers, and our region. But it’s equally clear that our legacy as a teachers college is embedded in our institutional DNA. I’m proud of that legacy and our long history of preparing educators for early childhood, elementary, and secondary settings. Those educators embody MSUM’s purpose of transforming the world by transforming lives. They also embody the student-focused and service-oriented ethos of their alma mater—an ethos that’s sure to persist for at least another 100 years.
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