History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book event at library to usher in 2012 PPD

(Image of Mary Wingerd from SCSU site)
We can welcome Prairie Pioneer Days with a Thursday evening event at the Morris Public Library. It's important we support these author events at the library. The attendance can be quite uneven. They are always worth your time.
I would guess the July 12 event has a good chance of getting the room filled. Let's welcome Mary Lethert Wingerd who is on the faculty of my alma mater: St. Cloud State University.
Good ol' SCSU has been in a "re-branding" phase. The frivolous reputation (with partying) that I have alluded to from time to time is being stomped out like a fading campfire. They've canceled Homecoming. That seems drastic. But it only shows the resolve of President Earl H. Potter III.
The St. Cloud State faculty includes Tony Hansen, a Morris High graduate two years older than me. One of Tony's old compatriots is Del Sarlette of Sarlettes Music. Another is Neil Thielke of Morris Community Church. That class recently lost one of its members: Doug Pedersen.
Us boomers are getting grayer and we're in denial about having to relinquish our influence to a younger generation. Just keep AARP strong.
Mary Wingerd has a Ph.D. from Duke University. She is the recipient of the Minnesota Book Award for "North Country: the making of Minnesota." She is associate professor of history at SCSU. Her office is in Stewart Hall which was the home to mass communications, my major when I traipsed across campus. The classrooms had manual typewriters. Devices that allowed you to view your writing on a screen were just getting introduced when I concluded my studies.
I could never have guessed how rapid the pace of change in communications tech was going to be. After all those generations of 35mm cameras, including such things as auto-focus, we're told to scrap all that and start over with digital. Doesn't obsolescence stretch the checkbook?
St. Cloud State still has a mass communications major. I'm sure it's one of the "softer" majors. But hey, you get out of it what you put into it.
Tony Hansen teaches meteorology. I'm sure that's demanding. I wonder if he considers "climate change" a "hot potato" issue or if he could share candidly about it. Somehow we're being made to think about this in our torrid summer of 2012.
I have always felt a little uncomfortable hearing the belittling comments from advocates of UMM toward institutions like St. Cloud State. It's as if SCSU has a sort of "mongrel" quality - not as elite or demanding. I would discourage such talk.
The State of Minnesota owns these state university campuses just like it does the U of M. The State wants the public to be proud of all of them. They may not be carbon copies of each other. But they all have a role. It wouldn't be hard to put together a roster of outstanding people who are products of St. Cloud State.
Legend has it the SCSU party image grew out of minor incidents at one time that set the stage for non-students piling in and making matters far worse than they otherwise would be. I'm sure President Potter has worked with state officials to ameliorate this situation by whatever means are needed.
The state wants SCSU to be a jewel in the same way our UMM is a "jewel in the crown." Ultimately a college campus is just physical property. The state can adjust the purpose for that property as it sees fit. We saw that here in Morris when the old WCSA gave way to the liberal arts UMM.
I now see the liberal arts threatened by the democratization of information brought on by tech. But UMM might sail through those shoals just fine. We'll see.
I wish SCSU well if for no other reason than it's at the geographic center of Minnesota. It's attractive for a great many young people. St. Cloud is a relatively large city with amenities. No need for a "movie co-op" there. (Ouch!) I hope author Wingerd likes it there. Sometimes I wonder if academic people really have their heart in their communities. I think it's sad when they don't. You only live once and you might as well like where you are.
Wingerd has written what has been called "a revisionist take on early Minnesota history." Her "North Country" book "describes nearly two centuries of cooperation, accommodation and peace among disparate parties." More: "It probes the complex origins of Minnesota and the relationships between indigenous peoples and European settlers." Continuing, it probes "truths about Minnesota's formative years, truths that have often been ignored in favor of legend and a far more benign narrative of immigration, settlement and cultural exchange." 
Wingerd's talk is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, at the Morris Public Library. Chief Librarian Melissa Yauk would enjoy seeing the room filled!
I'll be there. Shoot a wave, maybe.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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