The origin of MNSU’s “Big ideas. Real-world thinking.”

David Bassey
Editor In Chief

It has been almost a decade since Minnesota State University, Mankato adopted the slogan that it bears today –”Big ideas. Real-world thinking”. Over the years, the University has identified and helped facilitate the execution of more than 200 plans across various disciplines through its integrated marketing.

But how did the five-word, super tagline come to be?

The vision birthed from a desire of the University to adopt a global perspective.

In the fall of 2009, President Richard Davenport conducted a campus-wide poll of staff, faculty and students, and discovered a wealth of big ideas that could be transformed into programs and services for students. These programs and services embraced real world thinking and real-world results. The result: a whopping $25 million worth of ideas and $5 million of funding following the previous year’s budget cuts.

“These ideas were from the heart and soul of the University and it is who we are and hope to build our future,” said President Davenport. “We’ve been living (big ideas, real world thinking) and there is not a university that would not want to steal that from us.”

Some of the big ideas that have erupted out of this vision are; 

– Fighting malnutrition with better access to high quality food, put forth by Mara Soupir, an undergraduate at the University who majored in history. 

– Helping high school students get recruited to earn college scholarships, an idea proposed by Francis Kanneh, CEO & founder of UnderRecruited Preps. 

– Civil engineering professor, Dr. Stephen Druschel’s big idea to make winter roads safer in Minnesota by partnering with the Minnesota department of transportation. By using research, he and his team is seeking new ways to apply deicers to snowy highways. 

– Bringing data from Minnesota’s archeological sites into one virtual place, an idea by Dr. Ron Schirmer from the anthropology department.

Whether you are undecided, a first generation, or a legacy Maverick with deep ties to the community, one thread runs through all Mavericks: we are hungry with multiple ideas baking through the course of our journey here as we continue to grow. 

With the multitude of resources available, take steps to put your ideas to flight, one step at a time.

Feature photo from Reporter Archives.

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