Support from Students, Faculty, Alums, & Friends
Pillsbury Hall. The 6,000-plus students who take
English classes annually will experience 21st-
century classrooms. An architectural and historical
landmark will get a new lease on life. It will
immeasurably benefit not only the arts and the
humanities, but science and technology as well.
We are so excited about what this renovation
will allow us to contribute to Minnesota.”
— Andrew Elfenbein, Professor and Chair
“English is a huge and fundamental major at the U, and it has no home. Moving the department into Pillsbury would allow students to be able to meet and collaborate, surrounded by resources.”
— English student
"Our undergraduates need spaces that reflect how they learn today: wired, active, through practice, and in community. Pillsbury will help us meet our students where they are and get them where they need to go."
— Professor Dan Philippon, Director of Undergraduate Studies
"An English major provides its students with growth and development of writing skills (whether creative, scholarly, or argumentative), critical-thinking skills, cross-cultural skills, empathy, communication, and so much more. Providing the English Department with its own home would help in building a necessary community of thinkers and future leaders."
— English student
"Once this 1889 building is renewed to 21st-century standards, Pillsbury Hall will become an excellent home for the Department of English. The College of Science and Engineering, meanwhile, will be able to expand throughout Lind Hall. We are especially excited to launch new programs in Computer Science and Engineering to fill the pressing demand for skilled computing professionals."
—Mostafa Kaveh, Interim Dean, College of Science & Engineering
"I wanted to get an English degree on the way to a law degree. But I was delighted to be exposed to so many different genres and texts, from Shakespeare to Chaucer to feminist prose. It all opened my eyes to other ways of thinking and writing. English is applicable in any field. No matter what you do, you must be able to communicate clearly. And it teaches you to learn how to learn."
— Teri Popp, attorney, Board Member, Fairview Southdale Hospital and Fairview Foundation, and English alumna
Sciences now will find a new home that is essential
to support [its] modern research, education, and
technology needs. . . . The Department will vacate
Pillsbury Hall on the Historic Knoll, named after
Governor John S. Pillsbury, who was primarily
responsible for restoring the academic programs of
the University after the Civil War. This move will
finally create an integrated home for the Department
of English, one of the University's largest academic,
enrollment, and most important foundational
departments in the Liberal Arts, along with some
additional programs in the Humanities. This project
greatly improves space quality and usage for two
critical academic colleges, Liberal Arts and Science
and Engineering. This modest investment will
re-purpose one of the most historic buildings at the
University and in our State, but will also honor one
of Minnesota's most distinguished political leaders in
the founding of Minnesota, on the 165th Anniversary
of the University of Minnesota."
— Robert Bruininks, President and Professor
Emeritus, University of Minnesota
— E. Thomas Sullivan, President, University of
Vermont, and Former SVP/Provost, University
— Kathleen O'Brien, Vice President of
University Services Emerita, University of
"As a top ten MFA program in creative writing, we want to be able to offer our students facilities worthy of them, where they can engage with each other and with the vibrant cultural life of the Twin Cities. Pillsbury Hall would not only fulfill this goal, but also provide a link between our program and the remarkable history of Minnesota architecture."
— Professor Peter Campion, Director of Creative Writing, poet, and Guggenheim Fellow
"Pillsbury Hall, specifically earmarked for dedication primarily to the English department, could provide a renaissance for the Humanities on the campus of the U of M. For some years now English has been crammed into an engineering building, and the other humanities are spread out around campus. Renovated and designated for English, Pillsbury would return attention to the point of a university: to inspire life-long learning and the ability to face change with courage and confidence."
—Judith K. Healey, philanthropy professional, biographer, and novelist, English Advisory Board member, and English alumna
"Pillsbury Hall is one of the most historically significant buildings remaining on the University of Minnesota campus, and I commend those who are working so earnestly to preserve it and to restore it for future use. Unfortunately the University allowed this landmark structure to deteriorate to the point that its productive reuse was in doubt. But now there are plans to bring it back not only to remind us of the great role it played for so many years but also to ensure that it can continue to do so for years to come. I urge everyone who cares about the University's heritage as well as its future to do what they can to help in this critical effort."
— Richard Moe, former President and CEO, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and graduate of the U of M Law School
“Pillsbury would be a stellar home base for Minnesota’s writers. To continue as one of the most respected MFA programs in the country, we need to provide spaces where students can engage with each other and with the Twin Cities’ lively cultural communities.”
— Professor Julie Schumacher, novelist, 2015 winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and 2016 CLA Scholar of the College
"The spaces of Pillsbury Hall will provide a much-needed home for the intellectual vibrancy and scholarly life of our many graduate students."
— Professor Katherine Scheil
"It’s important to have a centralized place for students to access all the English resources they need for class."
— English student
important publishing area in the country (after
New York/Boston). The English department at the
U plays a crucial economic role in this publishing
ecosystem by supplying a well-educated, motivated
workforce that respects and understands the power
of the written word. Besides the many important
educational opportunities a refurbished Pillsbury
Hall will provide, it will also ensure that our state
maintains its place as an internationally renowned
— Adam Lerner, Publisher & CEO
Lerner Publishing Group
Chair, English Advisory Board
UMN Art History alumnus
"The renovation of Pillsbury Hall reflects prioritization of the liberal arts, an investment that is essential to creating graduates who understand culture, language and the humanities. The disciplines of the liberal arts are rooted in the practice of collaboration, idea sharing, and the productive collision of arguments, skills we want our graduates to have when entering the workforce. We need to invest in space, classroom renovation, and flexible design for liberal arts students if we want these skills to be developed."
— Joelle Stangler, former President, Minnesota Student Association (MSA)
“As an English major, I had my perspectives widened and my writing improved. I honed lifelong skills in analysis, communication, and organization, skills that have secured me internships and jobs. Pillsbury Hall would offer the Department of English the recognition it deserves as a vital institution within the College of Liberal Arts.”
—Catherine Dang, English alumna (2017)
“Since my time as an English undergraduate, the U of M has done a great deal to enhance its arts spaces such as Northrop Auditorium, the Weisman Museum, Music School, Studio Arts, and Dance. Now it’s time to create a space for writers: the young visionaries who will guide Minnesota’s vision and future direction. Students at the U deserve a place where their creativity can flourish. Pillsbury Hall is that place.”
— Randy Adamsick, Director of Institutional Advancement, Chicago History Museum; English Advisory Board member; English alumnus
"English is about more than just reading books. It's about experiencing literature. It would be great to have space to do that—performance spaces, publications labs, and communal areas."
— English student
"English is the cultural campfire of language we all gather around, the centerpiece of the liberal arts. Pillsbury, repurposed for English, will be that campfire for the humanities at the University."
—Regents Professor Patricia Hampl, memoirist, MacArthur Fellow, and English alumna