Throughout the 50 years that MSUM’s Comstock Memorial Union has been in existence, there have been many people who have played an important role in helping the CMU become what it is today. However, there are certain individuals that have shaped the CMU a little bit more. These are the top five people who have impacted the Comstock Memorial Union in the greatest ways:
5. Earl Herring
Earl Herring was the assistant to President John Neumaier. In 1963, Herring announced that the construction of the long anticipated Student Union should begin in 1964 and be completed the following year.
4. John Numaier
As the seventh president of Moorhead State College from 1958 to 1968, Neumaier oversaw the transition from Moorhead Teacher’s College to Moorhead State College. He also expanded the college’s liberal arts offerings and saw a huge enrollment increase in the years that he was president. In 1968, President Neumaier dedicated the newly built Comstock Memorial Union building. In a letter to his students, Neumaier congratulated the students saying: “My very sincere congratulations to sutdents, past, present and future, for providing this splendid addition to our campus. Moorhead State College and the people of Minnesota are deeply grateful for this building and for the kinds of programs that have been and will be conducted here.”
3. Karen Mehnert-Meland
When she was a student, Mehnert-Meland was involved in many on-campus activities and worked in many areas across campus. Mehnert-Meland became a hall director in Dahl Hall in 1978. Eight years later, in 1986, she began working part time as the assistant director of the Student Union, and was made director in 1991. Mehnert-Meland remained a part of the Student Union until she retired in 2014, after 35 years of service. She has served in many interim positions—including Interim Public Safety Director in 2015.
2. Soloman G. Comstock
A Minnesota state senator and US Congressman, Comstock is considered to be the father of MSUM, as he persuaded the Minnesota legislature to build another “normal school” in 1885, which would eventually become the Minnesota State University Moorhead we know today. Comstock donated six acres of land that Moorhead Normal School was founded on, and the next session of the legislature approved $60,000 for the construction of Main Hall. The Moorhead Normal School opened its doors in Fall 1888. When the Memorial Union was opened in 1967, it was only fitting that it be named for the man, and family, who made all of this possible.
1. MSUM Students—Past and Present
Although there have been many people that have helped make the CMU great, it truly is the students that have made this all come together. From the initial idea of charging themselves $5.00 per quarter in the mid-1950s, to the input on many facelifts and renovations that have shaped the building, and even the events and programs that have been put on to entertain students at their home away from home, the students of MSUM have played the most important part in the history of the Comstock Memorial Union.
For the past 50 years, there have been many people who have played an important role in bringing the Comstock Memorial Union into what we know and love today. Although there are many more that have made the CMU the center hub of MSUM, the students, their hard work, ideas, and dedication to the school that have made the Comstock Memorial Union great.