Campus Memories

Kirby Student Center

Campus Memories

Photos transport us back in time and remind us how far we’ve come. We hope these images make you smile, feel a little nostalgic, or search for your photo album. We’d love to hear your campus memories. Share them with us at


At one time, UMD held Cap and Gown Day in May, prior to commencement. Seniors dressed in caps and gowns and processed into Kirby Ballroom for speeches, award presentations, and a reception.

“I was the first one in my family to graduate from college, so it was an important moment for us. I was already married to Ed Alspach. He had his graduation ceremony in Old Main in 1956. Ed was home from serving in the Air Force during my senior year, but I still had  to move into and help run the UMD-owned mansion on Fifth Street with the other home economics students. ”– Ellie (Elourine) Alspach ’62, Duluth, Minn., Home Economics

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Bagley Nature Area


Since 1951, Bagley Nature Area has attracted runners, hikers, and cross-country skiers

“It was midterms and stress was high. A good rain seems to wash away just about anything, so my roomie and I decided to run through Bagley. As we ran, we splashed through giant mud puddles. When we exited our private oasis, a driver slowed down to stare; we were covered in mud. The driver behind him wasn’t watching the road either, and the result was a fender bender. Now my former roommate and the driver of the second car are happily married, with three lovely daughters. ” – Sara Joy Jespersen ’00, Minneapolis, Minn. Exercise Science

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Sieur du Lhut Sculpture


The Sieur du Lhut sculpture, by French artist Jacques Lipchitz, was unveiled in Ordean Court on Nov. 5, 1965.

“It was a cold, chilly, day, and there were many people there in anticipation of the unveiling, because no one had seen the Sieur du Lhut sculpture. It was covered with a big cloth. The time came, and they tugged on a rope, but the cloth was stuck! They had to get long poles to lift the curtain, and when people could see the sculpture, everyone applauded. ” – Bill Shipley ’66, Duluth, Minn., Studio Art and Art History

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American Indian Pow Wow


Over the years, UMD has hosted more than two dozen American Indian pow wows. The photo, featuring dancer Vince Cody in the center, is from the mid-1970s.

“When I was an undergrad, the Anishinabe Club sold fry bread and Indian tacos to raise money for the annual pow wow. We managed the whole event, which was held every year in May. We arranged for a spiritual advisor, the master of ceremonies, an arena director, flag carriers, head dancers, and a house host drum. Everyone was invited to come in their finest regalia and share in the richness. ” – Dee Gokee-Rindal BA ’79, MA ’86, EdD ’09, Bayfield, Wis., Education


Campus Aerial


Aerial views offer a glimpse at the significant changes that have taken place on campus. This photo was taken in 1958.

“I came back to Duluth in 2012 for my 60th Denfeld High School reunion and visited the UMD campus. In my first year at UMD in ’52, there was only one building on the upper campus, the Science Building. Being in a two-year pre-engineering program, I took all of my technical classes (math, physics, chemistry, etc.) there. Every day I rode the city bus from my family home to Old Main and then boarded one of the shuttle buses to go up the hill. ” – John Hjerpe ’54, Cypress, Tex., Pre-engineering

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Ven Den


The Ven Den, a vending machine room, opened in what was then called the Education Building in 1964. It was renovated in 2015.

“I went to UMD from 1972 to 1976. Microwave ovens were pretty new at that point and because of that, there was a sign on the Ven Den microwave that said, “microwave ovens may be hazardous to your health.’ Scribbled underneath that, someone had written, ‘So is the food here.’ ”– Linda Dunaiski ’76, Duluth, Minn., Sociology

Dining Center


UMD’s Residence Hall Dining Center opened in July 1974. During the 2014–15 school year, Dining Services employed over 250 student workers.

“I worked at the Dining Center all four years I was at UMD. One day, my best buddy Ed and I made a 15-egg omelet that basically covered the whole grill and loaded it with everything we could find from the salad bar. This omelet filled an entire D.C. tray, and he and I, being the starving college students we were, absolutely devoured that massive beast-of-an-egg creation in 10 minutes!” – Jim Pichler ’92, South Range, Wis., Computer Engineering

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