Alumni center to host

Josh Linehan

All in all, books written by or about University alumni might end up as another brick in the wall.
The University Alumni Association surpassed its goal of collecting 5,000 books to furnish “The Wall of Books,” which will be displayed inside the new University alumni center’s Heritage Gallery. The books — written by or about University staff members, students and alumni — will be stacked upward to form a wall 60 feet long by 35 feet high.
“The visual impact of the wall will hopefully convey a feeling of the publishing tradition here at the University of Minnesota,” said Chris Smith, member of the Alumni Association.
Smith said the 5,000 books collected represent only the tip of the iceberg of published material related to the University.
The collection began this spring with a June 30 deadline, but the deadline was extended to allow alumni from around the world to send donations. The books came from as far away as Germany.
Books to be included in the wall range from best sellers by Garrison Keillor to a 1937 book entitled “Winning Football,” written and autographed by former Gophers football coach Bernie Bierman. Also donated were technical volumes like the 1910 book “Minnesota Algae, Volume I” and “Virgin Time,” a book by current University professor Patricia Hampl.
After the books are installed, the wall itself will stand as an autonomous work of art.
“These books contain millions of written words, but when furnished into a wall, they will wordlessly convey the impact this University has had on this state, this country and this world,” said Tom Garrison, Alumni Association director of communications.
Although the Alumni Association was confident they would reach their goal, they were surprised by the emotional outpouring from book donors.
“People have autographed their books and attached little notes. They are connecting with the University in a different way, and so many people seem so happy to give something back. I’m thrilled,” said Margaret Carlson, associate vice president of alumni relations.
The Alumni Association celebrated reaching their goal at Northrop Plaza on Wednesday.
“We had already reached our goal, but it was a nice celebration and we collected over 100 more books,” Smith said.