Pride and determination on display at SMSU

There are two words to describe the 50 years of rich history involving Southwest Minnesota State University — determination and pride.

It was the determination of a community to address a need for higher education. Individuals like Warren Quarnstrom formed a committee more than 50 years ago that worked to bring a college to southwest Minnesota.

“There were a lot of very good people that worked hard on this,” Quarnstrom told the Independent recently.

The committee was made of business owners and concerned residents. All that hard work came to fruition after a bill was approved in the state Legislature to establish a four-year college in southwest Minnesota. Marshall was chosen as the site in October of 1963. Community members then raised the $250,000 to purchase 219 acres of land for the campus site.

On Monday, the community put its pride on display during a Founders Day celebration on campus. It was also the kickoff for Homecoming Week activities.

SMSU President Connie Gores declared that the special occasion was made “even more special because of everyone who gathered here.”

More than 200 enthusiastic people from alumni, faculty, supporters to students gathered for the ceremony and a big group photo.

Gores also encouraged everybody to share their Mustang stories with family, friends and neighbors all week long. Those stories are important because SMSU empowered so many students throughout the 50 years to lead productive lives. Careers were launched and friends for life made.

Happy 50th anniversary to Southwest Minnesota State University.