Pillsbury Hall Renovation
In the news
- "Despite misgivings, Dayton OKs $1.5 billion for public works." Star Tribune, May 30, 2018
- "Dayton signs Minnesota public works spending bill despite 'concerns.'" MPR, May 30, 2018
- "Reclaiming the Castle: After decades of waiting, the time may be ripe for a renovation of Pillsbury Hall." Minnesota Alumni, Winter 2018
- "Pillsbury Hall, U's second-oldest building, in line for $36 million in TLC." Star Tribune, September 16, 2017
- "Gov. Dayton signs higher education bill and University bonding bill." Minnesota Daily, May 31, 2017
- "Without state funding Pillsbury Hall could close, UMN officials say." Minnesota Daily, February 20, 2017
- TPT's Almanac profiles Pillsbury Hall and our renovation plans: Part one (segment at 25:04) first aired August 5, 2016. Part two (at 16:14) aired on August 12.
- "Beeson, Omari: Preparing Minnesota's future thinkers, leaders, creators." Pioneer Press, April 15, 2016
- "Renewal of pivotal building at the U deserves legislative support." Star Tribune, January 5, 2016
- "The architectural significance of Pillsbury Hall." Star Tribune, January 11, 2016
- "U to renovate historical hall." Minnesota Daily, September 17, 2015
The Department of English wishes to thank Governor Dayton, the Minnesota Legislature, and all our alum and English Advisory Board advocates. We would like to extend a special thanks to Emerita Professors of English Shirley Garner and Madelon Sprengnether, who first envisioned English in Pillsbury Hall and have led this two-decade effort with, as CLA Dean Coleman notes, "passion, energy, and determination."
We are also pleased that the Pillsbury Hall Renovation is part of the University of Minnesota’s current Capital Campaign, which launched its public phase last fall. This distinction is a mark of the importance of the project to the University—and an acknowledgement of how much Pillsbury Hall’s renovation will benefit students, University programs, and the citizens of Minnesota.
In 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, to meet the high demand for computer science professionals.)
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.) Want to learn more about Pillsbury Hall? Here are 10 fun facts. And, here, a condensed list of reasons to support this renovation.
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 Zadie Smith, Eula Biss, Nuruddin Farah, 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?
- Thank your state senator and representative for their support of the Pillsbury Renovation Project. You can find your district representatives and their contact information here.
- Support the Pillsbury Hall project financially. We will be raising part of the renovation funds through private donations. You can also give securely online.
- Check out the history of the Pillsbury Hall Renovation project. And learn ten fun facts about Pillsbury Hall!