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Southwest Minnesota State University: Wikis


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Southwest Minnesota State University
Established 1963
Type Public
President Dr. David Danahar
Faculty 148
Students 3,700
Location Marshall, Minnesota, USA
Campus Small City, 216 acre
Colors Brown and Gold
Nickname Mustangs
Affiliations MnSCU

Southwest Minnesota State University is a public, four-year university that is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. It is located in Marshall, Minnesota, a city of 13,000 people. The school has a full-time enrollment of approximately 3,500 students and employs 148 faculty members. It is divided into two major colleges, the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences, and the College of Business, Education, and Professional Studies. SMSU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Southwest Minnesota State University was named the #1 college in its category nine times by U.S. News and World Report.[1] Each student attending Southwest Minnesota State University pays a .43 cent per credit fee to fund the Minnesota State University Student Association, a student lead non-profit that advocates on behalf of all Minnesota state university students.



The university was founded in 1963 as Southwest Minnesota State College (SMSC). It admitted its first class of students on September 19, 1967. The college became Southwest State University on August 1, 1975 (SSU), and kept that name for nearly thirty years until adopting the current name of Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) on July 1, 2003.[2]

The University went through a severe enrollment crisis in the 1970's. During the fall quarter of 1976, on-campus enrollment dropped to an all-time low of 1,624 students.[3] This led to faculty retrenchment and concerns about the viability of the university.

The student newspaper was originally called The Impact. The name was changed to The Reader in 1974, and then back to The Impact in 1980.[4] In 2003 the name was changed again to The Spur to be more consistent with the Mustang theme and to spur students into action.

The R/A (Recreation/Athletic) Facility was built in 1996 and serves as a 4,000 seat multi-purpose venue.

New SMSU Student Center, completed in 2005

In December 2001, a fire destroyed the Student Center, which originally featured an underground living area and a glass dome. The concrete framework for the dome was incorporated into the new student and conference center, and is still visible in the food court area. The new student center was completed in 2005. When completed, it featured a replica of the original dome with the words "Student Center Dome: 1972-2002" written on it at the Alumni Heritage Center, located near the Mustang Zone in the upper level.

In 2005, SMSU developed the first bachelors degree culinology program in the nation to be approved by the Research Chefs Association.[5]

In the summer of 2008, construction began on a new residence hall (named Sweetland Hall in August 2009 after a previous president of the University), located at the far west end of campus, scheduled for completion in July 2009. The configuration of the residence hall will be the same as the nearby Foundation Residence Apartments. Freshmen will get the lower level of the hall, while upperclassmen will get the top two levels. HC Complex, located not too far way from the new hall, will be shut down (but not demolished as some have believed) for the entire 2009-2010 academic year as the first existing residence hall to bring up to Marshall's fire codes. Another project slated for completion by Fall 2009 is the Alumni Plaza, designed to draw alumni back to campus (subsequently cancelled in Summer 2009 due to the cost overruns of Sweetland Hall).

On September 6, 2008, the new Regional Event Center officially opened on the western edge of campus. The athletic field was named Mattke Field after the old field, and in honor of a past football coach. The center is used by the Mustang football and soccer teams, as well as teams from Marshall High School, and for other regional activities (such as concerts). It took two years and $16 million to complete.[6]


Southwest Minnesota State University provides undergraduate education in the liberal arts and professional studies for the following areas: Accounting, Agribusiness Management, Anthropology, Art, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Culinology, Economics, Education, English, Environmental Science, Foreign Languages, Global Studies, History, Hotel and Restaurant Administration, Humanities, Indigenous Nations and Dakota Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Justice Administration, Marketing, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Rural and Regional Studies, Social Work, Sociology, Speech Communication, Theatre Arts, Wellness and Human Performance, and Women's Studies. The university also supports a Center for Rural and Regional Studies, and offers masters degrees in Business Management, Education, and Special Education. The most popular majors are Business Administration and Education.

Theatre students in a production of 'Play' by Samuel Beckett


Most of the SMSU campus was constructed between 1965 and 1973 according to a unified plan. The brick and concrete buildings are interconnected via tunnels and enclosed walkways, providing a continuous and controlled environment during both summer and winter. The residence halls unfortunately are not connected. There are many courtyards with gardens between the buildings. The campus is virtually barrier free, allowing easy access to students in wheelchairs.

The university's residence halls were named by the students during the late 1960s, and reflect various themes and values of the times, e.g. Aquarius, Casa Futura, Methedras and Kama Sutra. Armstrong Hall was named after astronaut, Neil Armstrong in honor of his trip to the moon in 1969. Manchester Hall was named after pop singer, Melissa Manchester after a concert she gave on campus.[7]

There are no fraternities or sororities on campus in order to promote a safe and friendly environment for all students.


The school athletic teams are the Mustangs. Their colors are the prairie colors of brown and gold.

The Mustangs compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), which is a part of NCAA Division II. SMSU has been competing since 1969, but has been in the conference since the Northern Intercollegiate Conference and the Northern Sun Conference merged to form the NSIC in 1992. Programs for men include basketball, wheelchair basketball, baseball, football, and wrestling. The programs for women are basketball, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. The student booster club for basketball is the Mustang Maniacs. Their slogan is, "Our team loves us and our opponents fear us". An annual basketball tradition is Hawaiian Night, which usually coincides with the Winter Meltdown festival held during the second week of the Spring Semester (which lasts from early January through early May).

Intramural sports include badminton, basketball, flag football, floor hockey, broomball, racquetball, softball, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, and volleyball. The Mustang Rugby Club competes in the Minnesota Rugby Union (USA Rugby) and won the Minnesota Division III Championship in 2002.


  1. ^ Measures of Teacher Quality in Minnesota, Retrieved January 4, 2007
  2. ^ Minnesota State Colleges and Universities News Release, Retrieved January 4, 2007
  3. ^ Amato, J. A. (1991). A new college on the prairie: Southwest State University's first twenty-five years, 1967-1992. Longmont, CO: Crossings Press.
  4. ^ Amato, J. A. (1991). A new college on the prairie: Southwest State University's first twenty-five years, 1967-1992. Longmont, CO: Crossings Press.
  5. ^ State of the Nutra Industry, Retrieved January 4, 2007
  6. ^ Bruns, S. (September 10, 2008). Grand opening of the $16 million regional event center goes well. The Spur, Volume 6, Issue 1, Page 1.
  7. ^ Amato, J. A. (1991). A new college on the prairie: Southwest State University's first twenty-five years, 1967-1992. Longmont, CO: Crossings Press.

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