You are here

Shattering Expectations: Celebrating CLA's 150th Anniversary

For 150 years, the College of Liberal Arts has played a central and enduring role in shaping lives, for the good of Minnesota and the world. We celebrated our sesquicentennial during the 2018-2019 academic year with a series of events and activities for the entire CLA community, past and present.

View a gallery of photos from 150th anniversary celebration events.

Cheers to 150 Years

CLA's Sesquicentennial Birthday Bash:

Cheers to 150 years! Join us on Saturday, June 8 as we celebrate 150 years of shattering expectations of what a liberal arts college can be! Free and open to the public.
Learn more

Image of students from 1970s protesting for equal education.

Calling to Question:
150 Years of Liberal Arts Education at the University of Minnesota

This exhibition offers a glimpse into the history of CLA with photographs, documents and other materials that tell the story of a college that has endured for 150 years. The exhibit runs March 4 through June 14, 2019 at the Elmer L. Andersen Library.
Learn more


CLA: Time Past, Time Present, Time Future

Time Past, Time Present, Time Future

As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, CLA faculty arranged a 4-day series of events featuring faculty from across the college. Designed to celebrate the wide range of creative and scholarly pursuits among faculty, these events were intended for a broad audience and showcased the intellectual curiosity and cross-disciplinary dialogue that is at the heart of CLA.
Watch Event Presentation

We Are Liberal Arts Alumni Videos

In the College of Liberal Arts, we are creating tomorrow’s thought leaders. We’re celebrating our 150th anniversary by sharing a library of stories highlighting our alumni—confident, active citizens poised to take risks, confront challenges, and thrive in an ever-changing world.

Watch alumni videos

I am profoundly optimistic about the future of the liberal arts because the liberal arts are uniquely suited to this evolving moment in history. Our world has never been so interconnected or complex or so shaped by the power of creativity, curiosity, and communication.

A Brief History

The College of Liberal Arts was founded in 1869, just 18 years after the University as a whole was founded. CLA was created with the intention of distinguishing the arts and sciences, primarily for the purpose of creating future leaders in these disciplines. CLA began under the name of the College of Science, Literature and the Arts, or SLA, and has gone through many changes since its founding, but the overall mission remains the same. In the summer of 1963 the sciences were moved to their collegiate units and SLA became the CLA we know today. From its beginning with 9 professors and around 300 students, CLA now has more than 520 professors and 15,000 students continuing its mission of furthering higher education and shattering expectations of what a liberal arts college can be.

Thank you

Thank you for helping to make CLA shine for 150 years. Together, we’re shattering expectations of what a liberal arts college can be.

Visit our campaign webpage