You are here

Pillsbury Hall Renovation

Image of Pillsbury Hall

Image of Pillsbury Hall
The architect behind Pillsbury Hall's red clay roof and patterned sandstone was LeRoy S. Buffington—who also designed Minneapolis' Pillsbury "A" Mill

In the news


  • "Pillsbury Hall and the Legacy of Architect Harvey Ellis." Cass Gilbert Society presented free talk May 5, 2016, at the Mill City Museum


In October of 2015, University Regents included the Pillsbury Hall Renovation in the U's 2016 Capital Bonding Request to the Minnesota Legislature.

The Department of English presented its case for a new home in a renovated Pillsbury Hall to Minnesota legislators last spring and received encouragement from leaders in the House and Senate.

The Pillsbury Hall Renovation request was presented in two bills: SF 2309, co-authored by Senators Kari Dziedzic, Sandra Pappas, and Senator LeRoy Stumpf; and HF 3144, co-authored by Representatives Dean Urdahl, Alice Hausman, Phyllis Kahn, Leon Lillie, and Cheryl Youakim. More information here.

The Legislature adjourned in late May without passing a bonding bill, leaving unfinished business for the 2017 session.

If we receive state bonding support for the remodeling of Pillsbury Hall, English will join other humanities departments in neighboring Folwell, Nicholson, Nolte, and Jones Halls, creating a hub for collaborations on research, teaching, and public engagement. (And the department's current space—our "temporary" housing for almost 50 years—will be eagerly taken up by Lind Hall’s main tenant, the College of Science & Engineering.)

The 6,000-plus students who take English classes annually will experience 21st-century classrooms in an iconic 1889 building—the second-oldest on campus, named in honor of John S. Pillsbury, the "father of the University." (The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the renovation will comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Preservation.)

The renovated Pillsbury Hall will feature production spaces equipped with technologies that enable journal editing, video making, digital storytelling, website building, and web-based research. Rooms for events will be used for the many now hosted annually by English and other humanities departments, from public readings by important authors such as Eula Biss, Nuruddin Farah, Claudia Rankine, and Karl Ove Knausgaard (all past visitors), to the annual English Undergraduate Conference.

Housed in a state-of-the-art facility, English will attract the most talented young faculty and the most promising graduate students. We will be able to provide not only our usual rigorous intellectual education but also an expansion of the service-learning, laboratory, and internship opportunities that channel undergraduate students into post-graduation employment and civic life.

How can you help?

  • Write or email your state senator and representative urging their support of the Pillsbury Renovation Project. You can find your district representatives and their contact information here.
  • Sign up for UMN Advocates and watch your email for calls to action. 
  • Support the Pillsbury Hall project financially. We will be raising part of the renovation funds through private donations. You can give securely online at
  • Check out the history of the Pillsbury Hall Renovation project.