New book chronicles the history of MSU

A history of MSU from 1868-2018 has been published

Joshua Schuetz
Staff Writer

A new volume on the history of Minnesota State University is being released as part of the commemoration of the university’s 150th birthday.

‘Minnesota State University, Mankato 1868-2018 : A Sesquicentennial History’, will serve as a chronicle of MSU’s history from its founding in 1868, to the present day.

The book’s author is historian Dr. William E. Lass, professor emeritus of history at Minnesota State University. 

‘A Sesquicentennial History’ will begin with the history of the school itself. The contrast between 1868 and 2018 is impressive. When it was first established in 1868, then the Mankato State Normal School, MSU was a small institution comprising just 27 students, offering two year degrees.

Today, the University boasts over 15,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. 

The book is fully illustrated, and covers many of the most important events in the university’s history, as well as chronicling the histories of the various programs at the school. 

For example, it will have a section on the development of various academic programs at MSU, as well as histories of the university leadership, and the faculty.

The history of the physical campus will feature in the book as well. In 1922, a fire destroyed the Teachers’ College building on campus. More constructively, in the 1950s, twin campuses were developed as the university expanded.

Being fully illustrated and featuring photographs from the university archives, ‘A Sesquicentennial History’ will also devote space to a history of the various social movements that took place on campus and the city of Mankato more generally.

Chief among these are the storied Vietnam protests of the 1960s and 70s. A diversifying student body angry at the foreign policy of the American government abroad and poor living conditions at home took to the streets and demanded changes large and small.

This activism, and the effects that it had on the community, have been written about in the book ‘Out of Chaos’ and the recent Timelapse issue of the MSU Reporter.

Anyone who is interested in renting or reading the book can go to the Memorial Library at Minnesota State University. ‘A Sesquicentennial History’ is currently on display at the Lass Center for Minnesota Studies.

‘Minnesota State University, Mankato 1868-2018 : A Sesquicentennial History’ is available for purchase on the University’s website, and will be available at the bookstore at a later date. 

Feature photo courtesy of

One thought on “New book chronicles the history of MSU

  • I am trying to locate Dr. William E. Lass. I am writing a book entitled, “The Last Outfitting Station on the Missouri River 1864 to 1866: Wyoming, NT and the Nebraska City Cut-off Trail.” I want to contact Dr. Lass for permission to use information for his book “From the Missouri River to the Great Salt Lake and from an article he wrote about the Steam Wagon experience at Nebraska City.

    Thank you,

    Erick Wadsworth
    2059 South Sandcrest Loop
    Nampa, Idaho 83686


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