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  • 1990s

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  • 1990s Timeline

    January, 1990 -- With enrollments exceeding 9000, MSU faces a major parking dilemma. Plans for a 2-3 level parking garage to be built off 9th Avenue are dropped when permit and construction costs prove too high. New plans are made for parking lots west of the main campus.

    February, 1990 -- The Industrial Studies department introduces a new course in robotics. While robotics is a field with great potential, the department notes, "it will take many years of effort before a robotic machine could do all that a human can do."

    March, 1990 -- Minnesota revises its tuition regulations and a steep increase in tuition for out-of-state students. "A student from Fargo will pay about $450 more next Fall, and another $450 in 1991-92." With this change in costs, a drop in enrollment is expected.

    April, 1990 -- After considerable effort and lobbying, MSU receives $3.6 million from the Minnesota Legislature to construct a new class building on land west of the central campus.

    May, 1990 -- After 32 years as faculty and chair of MSU's Theater Department, Delmar Hansen announces that he will retire at the end of the Spring quarter. In other news, a record 1250 students graduate at commencement, and MSU approves a contract to provide cable television for the dormitories in the coming year.

    September, 1990 -- Despite weaknesses in the team's defense, the Dragons beat Concordia 35-32 to win the annual Crystal Bowl game.

    October, 1990 -- "Centennial House," a remodeled and refurbished home west of the main campus, serves as a "laboratory for Hotel-Motel Services majors; the small restaurant at Centennial House rapidly becomes an attraction for faculty and staff.

    November, 1990 -- Students who will graduate in December face "the worst job market since 1982," according to findings of the MSU Career and Placement Center. Center director Mel Schmitz cites the high energy prices and Federal budget deficits as major contributors to the paucity of jobs, and advises graduates to "be flexible, willing to relocate, and adaptable to circumstances as you look for work."

    December, 1990 -- With a solid core of seniors, MSU women's volleyball wins the District 13 championship. Seniors Laurna Frankovich and Cheri Pundsack establish six district records for the sport.

    September, 1991 -- With the Soviet bloc of nations breaking up, an Advocate editorial urges the United States to engage in "trade agreements, military reductions and cultural exchanges" with Russia, bringing about a peace which "for decades young people, like ourselves, risked their lives."

    October, 1991 -- After winning the District 13 championship in 1990, the MSU Women's volleyball team is off to slow (7-6) start. New head coach Becky Schultze promises that once she has instilled a "killer instinct" in the young team, "we'll be winning 15-0 games regularly."

    November, 1991 -- North Dakota State University opts to drop the quarter system and begin semester classes in 1992. MSU considers a similar move. "With Concordia and NDSU on quarters we may have to follow suit to preserve the Tri-College benefits," comments Registrar John Tandberg.

    December, 1991 -- The MSU production of "Children of a Lesser God," is named as a "Top College Theater Production" by the American College Theater Festival, a signal honor for the cast and director David Grapes.

    January, 1992 -- The Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board, in consultation with other state agencies and college administrators, issues its proposal for the state's "post-secondary education in the future." The cornerstone of the plan is a new "board created to govern all public two-year institutions and the state universities" (see executive summary from the report).

    February, 1992 -- With the Legislature indicating that cuts in the Higher Education budget are "inevitable," MSU looks at options to deal with the student tuition -- each one is now, on the average, $7700 in debt at graduation.

    March, 1992 -- The University briefly flirts with the idea of becoming part of the University of Minnesota, but a "University of Minnesota-Moorhead" campus is dropped as unworkable.

    April, 1992 -- Higher tuition raises students fees (about 90 cents per credit) and increases in housing costs are certain for fall. The University plans to tighten its admissions standards. This sobering news is only partially offset by a $4 million award from the Legislature to remodel the MSU heating plant and an announcement that the Dragons will be admitted to the NCAA Division II in 1996.

    May, 1992 -- The graduating Class of 1992 is smaller than anticipated. Admissions warns that the enrollment of new freshmen for the coming year is also lower than expected, much of this due to the increased non-resident tuition of over $73 per credit.

    September, 1992 -- The higher cost of college is all too evident as classes begin with some 8300 students enrolled for Fall, a drop of more than 500 from the previous year. Thirty percent of the students admitted in 1991 have not returned for a second year, and the number of students enrolled for ten or fewer credits is growing.

    October, 1992 -- U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone visits MSU and speaks to students about his activities in support of higher education. But budget woes continue, due in part to declining population numbers in western Minnesota, the prime recruiting area for the university. Budget projections force MSU to delay beginning work on its new "Center for Business Studies."

    November, 1992 -- Alexander Kalinovsky, a student from Latvia (which recently gained its independence from the collapsing Soviet Union) reflects on his nation's rebirth in an interview with the Advocate. When not in classes or studying, Kalinovsky works at the Write Site; his English writing skills "are as good or better than that of most Americans."

    December, 1992 -- Terrence MacTaggart, Chancellor of the State Universities system, warns that, with the new MNSCU system soon to become a reality, budget reductions are "all the certain." "Legislators tend to solve budget problems on the backs of students," MacTaggart notes, and predicts that many of the schools will need to both raise tuition and reduce faculty and staff.

    January, 1993 -- Katy Wilson becomes Athletic Director at Moorhead State University. The former coach for women's softball, and director of women's sports since 1990, is the first woman to administrate all of the intercollegiate sports at MSU.

    February, 1993 -- Over 500 students and faculty meet at the Memorial Union to draft a petition opposing the Minnesota governor's proposal to raise state university tuition by 24 percent in the coming year. With tuition having risen nearly 10 percent per year for the past decade, a 24 percent increase would be "unconscionable," says Student Senate President Scott Dauner, "the extra revenue for the state, from such a jump, won't be there, because there won't be enough of us in school to pay for it."

    March, 1993 -- MSU's men's wrestling team wins third place at the state's NAIC tournament. Nine members of the team qualify to compete at the NAIA national meet, while two teammates, Bobby Olson and Joey Andreasen, are candidates for All-American honors.

    April, 1993 -- The Advocate publishes its annual April Fool's Issue (The Badvocate) with a front page story on parking: "Last week MSU's expansion and house-demolishing efforts finally extended to West Fargo in an effort to avoid building a parking garage. Next year we plan to purchase lots out by East Ten Mall and perhaps in Dilworth."

    May, 1993 -- The largest graduating class in Moorhead State's history receive degrees. The commencement ceremonies occur in the shadow of certain changes as the fall enrollment will clearly be smaller; and Roland Dille, president of the school since 1968, has announced his determination to retire in 1994.

    September, 1993 -- Classes begin with a 9 percent drop in enrollment, the largest since 1942. The school also changes with the announcement that, in Fall 1995, the University will conduct classes in a semester system. President Dille issues a statement that he "prefers the quarter system because of its opportunities to take a variety of classes," but a two-semester system will work best within the Tri-College system and accepting transfers from other schools. "We have to change with the times. (Read the announcement on the semester conversion process).

    October, 1993 -- Moorhead city police investigate a rash of thefts on and near campus and some two dozen cars are vandalized in parking lots and on the streets.

    November, 1993 -- The University Admissions office announces that, as of Fall 1995, ACT scores will be required from all applicants seeking admission to study at MSU.

    December, 1993 -- The shortfall in revenue due to lower enrollment and higher expenses leads the administration to consider layoffs at the end of the fiscal year. Up to 60 university faculty and staff could be cut before classes begin in Fall 1994. The debate over potential cuts will permeate the campus atmosphere for months to come.

    January, 1994 -- A national search continues for new president to take the helm after Roland Dille retires in June. The search "pool" of candidates is now up to ten individuals who may visit the campus for interviews.

    February, 1994 -- A campus survey reveals that over 800 MSU students are now "turned on to electric mail." The University expects that electronic mail (email) may become a useful tool for education, "sometime in the next decade."

    March, 1994 -- After an extensive search for a replacement for Roland Dille, the next president of MSU is chosen -- Roland Barden, current Vice-President (since 1989) of Academic Affairs for the university.

    April, 1994 -- In an effort to increase revenue, MSU trademarks its Dragon emblems and logos.

    May, 1994 -- At May commencement, Roland Dille says farewell to MSU faculty and alumni, closing his 26 years as president. In a plea for maintenance of the liberal arts basis for higher education, he says that colleges can "survive in the hands of technicians," but "will not flourish there."

    September, 1994 -- Classes begin. A debate over Title IX, which mandates increased funding for women's sports, leads to reductions in men's sports. Two sports -- men's tennis and golf -- have been dropped, while women's soccer has been added.

    October, 1994 -- Women's volley ball opens its season with 3 consecutive wins; the victories will mount up as the team goes on to win the conference championship.

    November, 1994 -- Football Dragons finish their regular season at 7-2-1, closing with a 29-29 tie against Winona State, qualifying for NAIA playoffs. They lose the opening game, 7-14, against Northern State. "Our game was just two minutes too long," notes head coach Ralph Micheli.

    December, 1994 -- The budget problems facing Minnesota schools for two years come to a head, forcing the new president to replace personnel in Administrative Affairs and announce that the loss of "some positions among faculty and staff" is "almost inevitable."

    January, 1995 -- Computer service on campus grinds to a halt in mid-January, when a local man cuts community data lines while attempting to rob an electronics store.

    February, 1995 -- Concerned about rumors of layoffs, students rally at the Union to oppose budget cuts. The "mood was kind of like a lynch-mob," says one student of the gathering.

    March, 1995 -- The administration's budget draft envisions layoffs to cover a $3.7 million deficit for fiscal 1996. President Barden has "doubt" that the state will award greater funding to erase the gap. (Read budget recommendation documents, outlining the changes.)

    April, 1995 -- MSU engages a consulting firm to examine ways to increase enrollment and better manage the budget.

    May, 1995 -- In the shadow of budgetary stringency and further declines in enrollment, MSU holds commencement and prepares to open the new Center for Business.

    September, 1995 -- Classes begin will 6475 students, about 500 fewer than the previous year and 2300 fewer than 1991. The semester system is now in operation, reducing the number of individual classes a student will take. The Vice-president of Student Affairs advises that the MSU budget has "no reserve, no cushion for unexpected costs."

    September, 1995 -- Layoffs and resignations have reduced the faculty and staff. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MNSCU) now coordinates a merged organization of 7 State Universities, 21 Community Colleges and 34 Technical Schools. Tuition, with fees (including a new computer - use fee), now stand at about $74 a credit for residents, a "shocking" level in the words of the Registrar. Many challenges lie ahead (see Student Debt Crisis).

    October, 1995 -- With MSU administration reorganizing student recruitment through "tele-recruiting" by seniors and alumni, the bulk of the student body looks forward to the "welcome back" party hosted by the Owls, who have recently been reactivated after a 1-year suspension for conduct violations.

    November, 1995 -- MSU football Dragons defeat Wayne State 51-28 for last home game, and will share the NSIC championship with UM-Duluth.

    December, 1995 -- In the midst of tight budgets and costly loans, MSU students are happy that off-campus housing costs ($400 a month average) remains lower than state college average.

    January, 1996 -- Two MSU theater majors -- Michael Klug and Susan Beaver -- are chosen to compete in the American College Theater Festival national competition in Washington, DC.

    February, 1996 -- English professors Tom Tammaro and Mark Vinz honored when their edited volume, Imagining Home: Writing from the Midwest, is nominated for the Minnesota Book Award.

    April, 1996 -- With $300,000 investment in personal computers and servers, MSU put 90 percent of University faculty and clerical employees "online."

    May, 1996 -- After months of deadlock, a possible strike by State University faculty is averted when a tentative agreement is reached by MNSCU and IFO negotiators.

    September, 1996 -- First days of fall semester are made more difficult by "two squirrels" that chew through cables powering the University's e-mail servers.

    October, 1996 -- MSU art major files $600 damage claim against university because "Night Watch discarded a dead pigeon I was drying in the [Arts Center] courtyard. I planned to coat it in bronze. Now my work is late."

    November, 1996 -- MSU Advocate profiles alum Kevin Sorbo, TV star of Hercules series. "I loved MSU," Sorbo tells paper, "but spent all my time lifting weights and playing basketball in Nemzek, until I decided to try acting."

    December, 1996 -- With increasingly harsh winters in the late '90s, MNSCU mandates a new policy -- "the MNSCU offices in St. Paul will determine when a campus is closed for poor weather."

    January, 1997 -- MSU receives $270,000 in grants from state and private foundations for technology upgrades, the First Year Instruction program and the Speech Therapy Center.

    February, 1997 -- As a cost-saving issue, MSU announces that it plans to discontinue commencement exercises in August. With "only 76 graduates" in August 1996, "it's simply too expensive." August graduates may choose to attend commencement in December.

    March, 1997 -- MSU announces that beginning in the coming fall term, grading practices will allow the "plus and minus" system, rather than straight letter grades for each class.

    April, 1997 -- U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (Minnesota) visits MSU to ask for student support for a bill he is pushing in Congress. "We need more aid for affordable higher education," he stresses, "as this means the best for our national future."

    May, 1997 -- Classes are cancelled for 2 days in early May as students and faculty fill 175,000 sandbags (using 6 million pounds of sand) to fight the Red River flooding. "Our effort helped to save Moorhead," President Barden notes, as the Red River crests just below 40 feet before receding.

    September, 1997 -- Biology professors Mark Wallert and Chris Chastain, together with chemistry professor Shawn Dunkirk, receive grants to initiate a biotechnology research program at MSU.

    October, 1997 -- Thanks to vigorous recruiting and a "gateway" program with local junior colleges, MSU has its first increase in enrollment in seven years.

    November, 1997 -- Due to improving national economy and the findings of the National Association of Colleges that 1998 will be the "best job market in a decade," students attend the annual Tri-College Career in record numbers.

    January, 1998 -- The State's announced bonding proposals (funds for construction and repairs) earmark $2.6 million to MSU for roof replacements, building repairs, upgraded athletic faculties and new interactive classrooms for distance education.

    February, 1998 -- New Federal and State tax credit legislation offers the hope of additional tuition help for college students, a sign of hope for the over 70% of MSU students who rely on loans and/or scholarships to continue going to college.

    March, 1998 -- With computing, business, communications, and education as the fields that are most likely to lead to jobs, university counselors urge faculty to stress writing, communications skills, and leadership skills in every class.

    April, 1998 -- Greg Duke, graduating senior and basketball star, is named the season's Most Valuable Player, closing his college career with 1689 points, the fifth highest total in school history.

    September, 1998 -- MSU's 111th year of classes begin as students win a petition drive to get the college to reroute its drainage system in a way that preserves 50 campus trees.

    October, 1998 -- In response to Mankato State being renamed Minnesota State University Mankato, MSU administration begins consideration of renaming its own campus.

    November, 1998 -- University's Music Department adds jazz music as an emphasis in its performance degree program.

    December, 1998 -- Construction engineers carefully examine school's largest dorm, Neumaier Hall, because concrete support columns extending into the soil are not "settling uniformly."

    January, 1999 -- Because of warnings from experts, President Barden orders Neumaier Hall closed -- "we would just rather be overcautious than not cautious enough." The move requires relocation of 305 residents.

    February, 1999 -- Louise Erdrich, author of award-winning novels Love Medicine and The Beet Queen, reads on the campus's McGrath Visiting Writers Series.

    March, 1999 -- Controversy follows the decision not to renew the contract of popular MSU basketball coach Dave Schellhase after five losing seasons.

    April, 1999 -- Affinity Plus Credit Union opens branch in Comstock Memorial Union to provide more banking services to students and staff.

    May, 1999 -- Although some 60% of students oppose any renaming of the university, MSU still studies name change to "expand our image in new markets."

    September, 1999 -- MSU football team opens season with 44-7 defeat of Concordia College at the first Power Bowl (formerly Crystal Bowl).

    October, 1999 -- With enrollment over 7000, women students hold large "Take Back the Night" rally to ask for greater security on "our more crowded campus."

    November, 1999 -- Political Science Professor Andrew Conteh is named Minnesota Professor of the Year by Carnegie Foundation.

    December, 1999 -- Administration announces that it will lengthen holiday break in order to secure campus technology against potential "Y2k complications."

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