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Pillsbury Hall Renovation at State Capitol

Help get English's future home on state bonding bill
April 14, 2017

“Restoring iconic Pillsbury Hall, future home of UMN English, [is] a must,” CLA Dean John Coleman recently tweeted. Coleman has stated that the renovation of Pillsbury Hall is a “top priority” for the College of Liberal Arts.

The renewal of Pillsbury Hall for the Department of English is again part of the bonding bill proposed by the University of Minnesota to the Legislature--after its failure to pass a bonding bill last spring. Bills in both the House (Drew Christensen and co-authors Lyndon Carlson and Alice Hausman) and the Senate (Kari Dziedzic) have been introduced for Pillsbury Hall.

How can you help? Write or call your legislators in support of the Pillsbury Hall Renovation (find their contact information here). Your advocacy as an English graduate matters to your representatives—and is essential to our success.

You may wish to include the following information: the renovation of Pillsbury Hall will benefit not only the nearly 500 majors and 110 graduate students in English but also the 6,000 plus students who take courses in our department annually. They will experience 21st-century classrooms in the most historically significant building on campus. Pillsbury Hall, named in honor of John S. Pillsbury, who donated the funds for its construction and is fondly remembered as the “father of the University,” is the second oldest building on campus and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Senator Dziedzic has been inspired by what she’s already heard from students about the project, she says in a February 20 Minnesota Daily story (“Without state funding Pillsbury Hall could close, UMN officials say”). Delays will only increase renovation costs, Dziedzic observes.

“We want a space where students will be able to find us,” says Department of English Chair Andrew Elfenbein in the Daily article. Currently, English faculty offices are scattered across three floors in Lind Hall. The Pillsbury Hall space also has room for student discussion and performance spaces, he adds, which are not available in Lind. 

Finally, we are excited to announce that the Pillsbury Hall project has been included in the University of Minnesota’s next capital campaign, which launches in the fall. We will be in touch with details.

Read more about the project here, and please contact us with any questions you may have about how you can support this important project at