Celebrating our campus

Beautiful “U” Day is an annual occasion to celebrate the natural beauty of our campus. It begins today with events continuing through Wednesday.

To spruce it up, the University in recent years undertook an ambitious and expensive “face lift.” Spearheaded by former University President Mark Yudof, the University launched massive construction and renovation projects. Although belated, the University community is finally able to enjoy many of these changes, though it is expensive for them. In the future, however, we hope the University community will continue to put forth enough charitable effort to maintain the best of our leafy campus. Despite its flaws, it should be a source of pride.

After the major wave of renewal, a beautiful University campus has re-emerged. While spring has only just begun, the verdant Minneapolis campus – an area that once again embraces the Mississippi River – provides an enjoyable college setting. Over on the St. Paul campus, open lawns and shaded sitting areas serve as the summer complement to long winters of indoor study. Sadly, the concrete modernism of the West Bank is a daily reminder of a grand opportunity lost.

Unlike many campuses, a wide diversity of architectural styles exist here – some more pleasant than others. In many ways, the architectural diversity on campus is a reminder the University’s history is not one of a single definitive moment; rather, an ongoing process of enlightenment and experimentation.

With Yudof gone, University President Robert Bruininks will now plot the future history of the University. Bruininks will be forced to contend with economic and political forces that often ignore public beauty. But as we celebrate the campus this week, we should take a moment to reflect on the best it has to offer.