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Two students wearing sweatshirts with M buttons.

This year's observance of Founders Day included a commemorative button giveaway. See more pictures of how these students celebrated with flair.

Celebrating 155 years

U honors Founders Day with an expanded scholarship program and a button giveaway

February 23, 2006

On February 25, 1851, Millard Fillmore was president of the United States and Minnesota was still seven years away from statehood. The territorial legislature met in a log hotel in St. Paul, and, on that day, it "thoughtfully stroked its collective beard and created the University," wrote historian James Gray. It would be the first higher education institution in the territory.

For 155 years this coming Saturday, the U has touched the lives of generations of Minnesotans--students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Today it stands for excellence in education and research, and shares its knowledge freely to improve communities and society. As the U strives to become one of the top three public research universities in the world, it honors the vision and achievements of its founders.

To celebrate this year, free buttons will be distributed on Friday, February 24, at the information desks in Coffman Union, the St. Paul Student Center, the West Bank Skyway, and at University Relations (3 Morrill Hall).

And in the founding spirit of serving the people of this state, U leaders announced last week that the Founders Opportunity Program--originally only available to incoming freshmen--has been expanded to offer significant financial support to Minnesota students who are transferring to the University. Freshmen are eligible for four years of support under the program, and transfer students are eligible for two years. The program is expected to help a majority of Minnesota students from families earning less than $50,000 a year.

Bruininks on Founders Opportunity Program

Read President Bruininks's column in The Minnesota Daily about the Founders Opportunity Program.

For more information on the Founders Opportunity Program, see Low-income students get tuition and fees guarantee. To read more about the University's founding and the history of its campuses, see On this day in history--February 25, 1851: U celebrates 155 years on Founders Day.

Revised February 28, 2006