Committee hopes to honor veterans at future stadium

by Lora Pabst

The legacy of honoring veterans at the University’s on-campus football buildings will be passed along to the proposed Gophers stadium.

University officials are joining with state veterans organizations to plan their course of action.

Memorial Stadium, the Gophers’ former football stadium, was named in honor of World War I veterans, but the goal of the newly formed committee is to honor Minnesota veterans from all wars.

Linda Thrane, vice president of University Relations and the committee’s co-chairwoman, said members are responsible for finding a distinct way of memorializing the veterans.

“TCF has obtained naming rights so we wanted to find another way to make sure we carry forward the Memorial Stadium legacy,” she said.

The committee has met once and is in the initial planning phase of its long-term goal, Thrane said.

“We started looking at ways that veterans are honored at other universities and stadiums across the country,” she said.

The committee is composed of leaders from state veterans organizations, student-veterans and leaders from the University community.

“We wanted to have (Army Lt. Col. Curt Cooper), who heads ROTC, and students to make sure there is a student element to this initiative,” Thrane said.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dennis Schulstad, co-chairman of the committee, said the committee contains several high-level veteran leaders.

“What better way to figure out how to honor veterans than to actually ask veterans,” he said.

Schulstad said the committee could decide on anything from a flagpole to a statue or a designated entryway. After the committee decides what to do, it will be responsible for raising the necessary funds.

Cooper, professor of military science and a committee member, said it is important for veterans to remember their history.

“It’s kind of an honor for the ones who have gone before us,” he said. “It’s a great benefit to have (veterans on the committee) because those are the ones we’re memorializing.”

Cooper said University President Bob Bruininks asked him to invite student-veterans to join the committee.

Schulstad said that when he attended the University most students weren’t aware that Memorial Stadium was named to honor veterans.

“It was a very nice gesture, but I don’t think it really caught on with the other students,” Schulstad said. “This group is going to do something that will be more meaningful; it will clearly honor veterans in a way that everyone knows.”