Whenever I walk by the writing on the cornerstone of MacLean Hall, “State Teachers College Founded 1887,” I feel a moment of awe and gratitude for being part of an institution with such a rich history of teacher education, right here, at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM). This month, I am filled with that same awe as we celebrate the University’s centennial anniversary as a Teacher’s College. It is a humbling and surreal experience to reflect on MSUM’s 133-year legacy as a premier teacher education institution, including 33 years as a Normal School before becoming a Teacher’s College.
Although MSUM has expanded its academic offerings over the years, teacher education has always remained at its core. The University continues to provide quality education for the entire continuum of education from the youngest members of the community at our Early Education Center; to undergraduate students pursuing Early Childhood Education, Elementary Inclusive Education, Special Education, and Secondary and K-12 Education; to graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, and Special Education; and to doctoral students pursuing their terminal degree in Educational Leadership.
This year marks my 20th year at MSUM, so I can proudly say I have been a part of the last one-fifth of MSUM’s 100 years as a Teacher’s College. When people ask me why I came to MSUM, I delightfully tell them I came because of the people who interviewed me and stayed because of the people with whom I work. I vividly remember my very first steps into the Lommen building for my interview. The enticing smell of books and coffee, the welcoming faces of those who greeted me, and my insightful conversations with those colleagues (now all retirees) about education and teacher education made me feel at home right away. I knew I was at the right place to begin my career as a teacher educator.
There are countless students whom I had the privilege of teaching as a faculty member in the School of Teaching and Learning, who have now become exemplary educators in the communities we serve. Among them is Lacey Hoppe, MSUM’s Director of the Early Education Center. Starting as a student, then a teacher, and now an administrator, I have had the privilege of getting to know Lacey and watch as she has demonstrated excellence throughout her professional career. Her dedication to her students and their families was especially on display while the Center was closed during the pandemic last spring, when she and her teachers met with students via Zoom for interactive activities to continue their learning and allow them to feel more connected during trying times.
I see the legacy of the dedicated colleagues who brought me to MSUM in educators like Lacey. As such, I am confident that MSUM’s excellence as a teacher’s college will only grow brighter in the years to come.
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