Minnesota State University, Mankato welcomed faculty back to campus and discussed his vision for the 2018-2019 academic year during the annual president’s convocation address Monday morning.

The institution’s anniversary celebration continues and will culminate on Oct. 7th — the 150-year anniversary of the day that the first classes were held.

MSU-Mankato President Dr. Richard Davenport said there have been many name changes since the Mankato Normal School started in the basement of a Methodist church, “And these name changes reflect the evolution and the expansion of education — higher education, really — nationwide.”

In the 60’s, Davenport says there was an effort to change the name of the school to the University of Southern Minnesota – but it was blocked by the University of Minnesota and the state legislature. “We’ll forever hate them,” Davenport quipped and was met by laughter, and added, “You know I don’t mean hate. Despised. Better.”

Faculty and staff were reminded that as much change as education has undergone in the past 150 years, it’s perhaps never evolved as rapidly as it is today. Davenport explained, “Our constituent needs are changing. Our environment is changing. The advanced technological era promises to push us forward even faster than previous generations; we must see our future through the lens of the world around us.”

Move-in day is Thursday, when more than 3,000 students will begin moving into on-campus housing. More than 4,000 vehicles are expected on campus, and MSU-Mankato are asking drivers to avoid main access streets Stadium Road and Val Imm Drive Thursday and Friday.

Classes begin one week from today, and school officials have planned nearly 70 activities and events for Welcome Week. The theme this year is, “Next Generation Heroes.”