University of Minnesota Alumni Association



What do you think? Send letters and comments to

I left my home in Maryland the day after the recent magazine [“The Future of Campus,” Fall 2023] arrived so took it as plane reading. I couldn’t agree more about the use of the glorious Mississippi. I lived in Minnesota from my birth in Winona until I left for the DC area about 30 years later. I always felt the river was not capitalized on enough. Locating dorms toward the river is a great idea.

My brother was a patient at the University hospital many times before his death earlier this year. I told his wife about the hospital plans, and she was enthusiastic about those too.

I currently have three grandchildren at the U (and one more at St. Kate’s in St. Paul). The grandkids at the U, two juniors and one freshman, very much like the idea of dorms closer to the river.

I used to live over what was then Aunt Bee’s Knitting shop at about 1312 4th St SE, what is now, more appropriately for the times, a bikes/boards store. And, of course, I totally appreciate the nod toward preserving Dinkytown and fondly recall Gray’s Drug store.

How times change and yet some things stay the same, like a great education from the U. Mine has served me very well.

Thanks for sharing.

Kathleen Holmay (B.A. ’67, M.A. ’78)
Kensington, Maryland
UMAA Life Member

"How times change and yet some things stay the same, like a great education from the U."
Kathleen Holmay (B.A. '67, M.A. '78)

Thank you very much for “The Future of Campus” and “Dinkytown, Past, Present and Future.” I very much hope that this issue gets wide circulation and careful attention from the Regents, University administration, staff and students and alumni and legislators. And Minneapolis city planners. The University is the living core of the city.

Ardes Johnson (B.A. ’57, M.A. ’70)
UMAA Life Member

I appreciated “The Evolving Campus” article in the recent Minnesota Alumni magazine. I agree with the overall plan, but only wish that it could happen in five years and not 25 (there is no better investment our state legislature can make than to build upon the U of M’s academic and social reputation).

Having had four children walk six different campuses as students (and countless other trips to college campuses through the years), what particularly resonated with me in the plans are:

· Mississippi River connection—A large terrace area that overlooks the river and is a gathering spot for young and old would be great. Have it serve underpriced wine, beer, and food, be aesthetically interesting... would be wonderful.

· Expanding the bar/restaurant area to the east—Dinkytown is wonderful, but it is small for a campus/school the size of the U of M. The U of M purchasing adjacent properties and then promoting mixed use development (housing + retail) is important.

Thanks for your work.

Brian Gustafson (M.B.A. ’93)
UMAA Life Member

Before the University administration starts to construct the future campus, it will need to use the available funds to restore the existing academic infrastructure. Almost one-third of the buildings on the Twin Cities campus (7.6 million square feet) are now rated in poor or critical condition by the administration. The costs of maintenance and restoration of existing facilities on all campuses are projected to be a staggering $5 billion over the next 10 years. See pg. 13 of the October 13, 2022 report of the Finance & Operations Committee of the Board of Regents at

This is the consequence of the decades-long failure of the administration to allocate sufficient funds for the maintenance of academic facilities. When senior administrators did not obtain the authorization from the legislature for the HEAPR bonds requested for repair and replacement, they should have made adjustments to the budget to allocate other revenues sufficient to keep up with the necessary maintenance. They did not do so.

Now the administration will need to spend a far greater percentage of the budget on academic infrastructure and far less on administration. Otherwise, we will see more structural failures, such as the partial collapse of the roof of Northrop Auditorium.

Michael W. McNabb (B.A. ’71, J.D. ’74)
Burnsville, Minnesota
UMAA Life Member

If you liked this story, Minnesota Alumni magazine publishes four times a year highlighting U of M alumni and University activities. Early access to stories and a print subscription are benefits of being an Alumni Association member. Join here to receive a printed copy at home.

Read More