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University of Minnesota Morris
Motto 'A Renewable and Sustainable Education'
Established 1960
Type Public Liberal Arts College
Endowment $8,173,097
Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson
Dean Cheryl Contant
Students 1,705
Location Morris, MN
Campus Rural
Colors Maroon & Gold
Mascot Cougars
Affiliations UMAC

University of Minnesota Morris (UMM) is a public liberal arts college and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges located in Morris, Minnesota, United States. A part of the University of Minnesota system, it was founded in 1960 as a public, co-educational, residential liberal arts college offering Bachelor of Arts degrees. The enrollment is about 1,700 students, consisting of all undergraduates.[1] UMM has a student to faculty ratio of 13 students to every one professor, and the average class size is sixteen students. UMM currently competes in NCAA Division III, the transition to which was finished in 2007, and its team mascot is the Cougars.



Although the UMM officially opened its doors in 1960, the history of what became the current institution reaches back further. In the 1880s, an American Indian boarding school was formed on the site and run by the Roman Catholic Church and later the US government.[2] The school closed in 1909 and the campus was transferred to the State of Minnesota under the agreement that American Indians would always be admitted free of tuition, the current UMM still follows this agreed policy. In 1910, the University of Minnesota (at the time only the Twin Cities campus), established a boarding school on the campus called the West Central School of Agriculture. In the 1950s, the University of Minnesota began phasing out its regional agricultural school and the people of the Morris region were able to convince the school to develop the campus into a liberal arts college. The current UMM opened in September 1960.

Several historic buildings of the West Central School of Agriculture and Experiment Station are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Music Hall, the oldest building on campus, dates back to 1899. It was the boys' dormitory of the Morris Industrial School for Indians. Camden Hall, Spooner Hall, Saddle Club Barn, Community Services Building, Behmler Hall, Blakely Hall, Social Science Building, Education Building, Pine Hall, and the Recycling Center all contribute to the Register. Most of these buildings were designed by Clarence H. Johnston Sr. in the Craftsman and Prairie School style.


In August 2009, Mother Jones Magazine chose the University of Minnesota Morris as one of its top 10 “cool schools" in the United States, stating that the school is great for alternative energy enthusiasts.

In 2005, UMM was rated fourth out of the 20 public liberal arts colleges and in the third tier of all liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News and World Report's ranking of "America's Best Colleges."

UMM is also known for its commitment to alternative sources of energy. In April 2005, a wind turbine was installed east of campus on a ridge over the Pomme de Terre river. The turbine currently provides about 60% of the campus' electricity, in addition to providing a source for research.[3] Efforts are currently under way to have two more wind turbines installed over the next few years. UMM has also completed the construction of a biomass plant for research and energy purposes (this plant is inefficient). When completed, it will provide about 80% of the campus' heat.[4]


UMM's athletic teams have experienced varied success during the school's history. The 1970s were marked by success in basketball and football. Olympic wrestler, Dennis Koslowski, wrestled for the Cougars in the early 1980s. After a move in the early 1990s as a non-scholarship Division II and a brief experiment with athletic scholarships, Cougar athletics found a more appropriate home in NCAA Division III's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. They are the first member of the UMAC to be a public, state-supported institution - all other members over the years were private institutions, usually with a religious affiliation.

Under then-head-coach Ken Crandall, UMM ended a major college football losing streak on September 20, 2003, by defeating Principia College, a Division III team, in Elsah, Illinois 61-28. UMM holds the NCAA Division II record with 46 games lost consecutively, with the previous win before September 20, 2003 being November 14, 1998.

UMM was, in 1993, the first college in the United States to sponsor women's wrestling as an official varsity sport. The program was cut in 2003 due to budget constraints. In 2006, a new men's soccer team was announced.

In 2006, UM Morris opened a new football stadium named Big Cat Stadium, just south of the school's Regional Fitness Center. BCS is also used by the Morris Area High School Tigers. The new stadium replaced Cougar Field which had been used from 1970 to 2005. The school's first football field, named Miller Field, was used from 1961 to 1969.

In 2006 the UMM Cougar football team won their first ever Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) championship 27-20 in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN on October 27, 2006. The last conference title for the Cougar football program was the Northern Intercollegiate Conference (NIC) title in 1987, the second of two straight NIC titles.


The university operates the radio station " the U-90 alternative, the prairie's only alternative" 89.7 FM (KUMM), the only station that puts KUMM in your ear, and produces at least three television programs that air on PBS stations in the state. Pioneer Public Television carries Prairie Yard and Garden, Academic Challenge and Minnesota Rivers and Fields. UMM also has a student-run publication: The University Register, a newspaper which is published weekly. UMM also has The Counterweight, which is a student-run editorial published monthly.

Since 2005, the university has held an annual film festival, referred to as the UMMys, in the spring. The winners so far have been "The Amazing Adventures of Beeman", "Rumspringa: The Musical" (a story about the forbidden love between a young Amish girl and a robot), and "The Chancellor's Daughter".

Residence Halls

The residence halls on campus are

  • Clayton A. Gay Hall (Gay Hall) - Underclassmen Residence Hall also home to Student Health Services.
  • David C. Johnson Independence Hall (Indy Hall) - Underclassmen Residence Hall
  • Pine Hall - Underclassmen Residence Hall
  • Spooner Hall - Upperclassmen Residence Hall
  • On-Campus Apartments - Upperclassmen Apartment Housing

Notable people


  • Associate Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea '83 - Justice for Minnesota Supreme Court
  • Tim Goodmanson '86 - Emmy winning art director for "As the World Turns"
  • Bruce Johnson '71 - president and CEO, Porchlight Entertainment
  • Rusty Kath '03 - stadium emcee, Tampa Bay Rays baseball
  • Tony Williamson '87 - founder, Ajasa Technologies. Selected as the 2009 Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) Charles W. Poe Jr. Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • Carolina Pallares '98 - United States border patrol agent
  • Dennis Anderson '73 - journalist, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Bruce Helmer '82 - owner, Wealth Enhancement Group. WCCO radio personality
  • Duane Koslowski '82 - Olympic athlete
  • Dennis Koslowski '81 - team chiropractor, Minnesota Vikings. Owner, Koslowski Chiropractic Inc.
  • Cy Thao '95 - State of Minnesota House of Representatives
  • Joe Basel '09 - Accused of felony wire tapping of a US Senator


External links

Coordinates: 45°35′23″N 95°54′10″W / 45.58972°N 95.90278°W / 45.58972; -95.90278

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