Minnesota State University, Mankato is planning over 150 events centered around its sesquicentennial celebration through October 2018.
The celebration will culminate on Oct. 7, 2018, the day when classes were first held on the MNSU campus 150 years ago.
The University last celebrated an event like this in 1993 during its 125th anniversary. Theatre and Dance professor Paul Hustoles was involved in the planning of that celebration and is co-chair of the University’s Sesquicentennial Planning Commission this year.
“I personally don’t think we celebrate ourselves and how hard we work,” he said. “We’re always talking about how bad things are. Let’s talk about the good things. Let’s celebrate.”
The Planning Commission is comprised of four subcommittees. One committee will be planning events for the University as a whole while another will be planning community-based events that celebrate the anniversary. One committee is made of representatives of the University’s different colleges and each will be planning events to celebrate the individual histories of the colleges. As chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, Hustoles is excited to tell the story of Ted Paul during an event series he calls “MavTalks.”
“They’re essentially our version of Ted Talks. We’re going to record these suckers and post them online,” he said.
The fourth committee is the Publications, Promotions and Preservation (PPP) committee. This committee created the logo for the celebration that’s been used in all MNSU branding. As co-chair of the committee, Integrated Marketing Senior Director Sara Frederick is heading a number of anniversary initiatives including a social media campaign. A big part of this will be posting daily facts about the University’s history on social media.
“It’s been fun to help build energy around this university milestone and to see how many people, both on campus and in the community, are involved in this,” she said.
Frederick said one of the hardest parts about planning everything has been coordinating with people. Over 100 people are helping plan events and volunteering. Hustoles expects that number to grow over the year.
“I have to credit Paul for his leadership on this; he’s very dedicated to this and is a great person to be taking lead for sure,” Fredericks said.
Even events outside of the Planning Commission are being branded as sesquicentennial celebrations. Many of the events will be accompanied by an array of banners that are designed to show different aspects of the sesquicentennial.
All the events in the next 12 months will lead up to what Hustoles calls a “blowout party” in the first week of October 2018. He’s planning a large-scale parade that will go through downtown Mankato, a gala and fireworks display.
“I look at it as a wonderful excuse to say happy birthday to us,” Hustoles said.