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A slice of birthday cake.

On February 24, the University will celebrate its birthday with cake at noon and a State of the U address at 3 p.m.

Happy birthday to U

President's State of the U address part of Founders Day

By Pauline Oo

From eNews, February 10, 2005; updated February 22, 2005

On Founders Day, you can have your cake, eat it too, then hear about the state of the U.

Cake, and a whole lot of it, will be dished out for free on Northrop mall at noon and in the St. Paul Student Center at 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 24. The cake is a gift from the grocery chain Cub Foods to celebrate the founding of the University of Minnesota 154 years ago.

In 1851, the University was established as a preparatory school with 20 students and one teacher. It was founded seven years before Minnesota gained statehood. And every year since 1932, the U has paid tribute to its founders with either a Founders Day or a Founders Week.

According to University Archives, a convocation was held on April 21, 1932, for the first Founders Day, which honored the eight men who were responsible for planting the seeds of the University: Alexander Ramsey, William Rainey Marshall, John Wesley North, Henry Hastings Sibley, Henry Mower Rice, Alfred Elisha Ames, Edward Duffield Neill, and John Sargent Pillsbury. In recent years, Founders Day has been celebrated in February to coincide with the signing of the school's charter on February 25, 1851.

Another occasion with roots from the University's past is the State of the U address. C. Peter Magrath, who was University president from 1974 to 1984, gave the first State of the U on October 26, 1978. This tradition has continued with Presidents Nils Hasselmo (1989-1997), Mark Yudof (1997-2002), and Bob Bruininks (November 2002 to present).

President Bruininks will deliver his address at 3 p.m. on Founders Day in the Coffman Union Theater on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis. Bruininks, who will dedicate his speech to the late Governor Elmer L. Andersen, will review the progress on a number of presidential initiatives, discuss how the University's strategic positioning process will help the University community meet the challenges that face public research universities today, and highlight efforts the University is undertaking to maintain opportunities for talented students in an era of rising tuition. A question-and-answer session will follow his public address.

The State of the U will be broadcast live on the other University campuses in Crookston (4 Hill Center), Duluth (410 Library), Morris (2950 Science Auditorium), Rochester ( CF202), and St. Paul (155 Peters Hall).

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