Vandal tags Knoll Area statue of John Pillsbury

The “father of the University” made lifesaving donations to the U.

Luke Feuerherm

âÄúWho?âÄù is the tag one curious vandal chose to mark in red spray paint on an on-campus statue of John Pillsbury sometime last week.
The University of Minnesota Police Department has closed its investigation into the sarcastic slight on the eighth governor of Minnesota.
The message is not a common tag or calling card for local graffiti artists, said Univesrity police Lt. Troy Buhta, who added that officers would still look out for similar tags.
The statue, located in the Knoll Area across from Burton Hall, honors Pillsbury for the lifesaving donations he made to the University when it was struggling in its infancy with a recession, a location change and the hurdle of running one of the first higher education institutions in the state, University historian Ann Pflaum said.
For bailing out the fledgling school, Pillsbury, governor in the late 1880s, is known as âÄúthe father of the University.âÄù He was a co-founder of the grain processing company named after his family.
Later in life, Pillsbury sat on the UniversityâÄôs Board of Regents and holds the distinction as being the schoolâÄôs only honorary âÄúregent for life,âÄù Pflaum said.
Pillsbury is also a bit of a local folk hero. During the grasshopper plague of 1877, he âÄî acting as governor âÄî held a day of prayer, and the next day the grasshoppers were killed off in a sleet storm, Pflaum said.
Using donations from Pillsbury, the University constructed the campus class building that bears his name and sits on Pillsbury Avenue.
It wasnâÄôt until later, one year before Pillsbury died in 1900, that the statue was built.
Since the incident, University employees have removed the graffiti from the statue.