Sudden Loss Interrupts Momentum
As Dr. Ted Gillett stepped down, Dr. Leslie Duly stepped up to the Bemidji State presidency in 1990 after a decade in the understudy role of chief academic officer. Known for an even keel and ubiquitous presence, Dr. Duly championed his vision of a comprehensive and multicultural university, with academic departments split into three colleges. His fatal heart attack in 1993 left BSU with interim leadership until Dr. James Bensen’s appointment a year later.
Foundation Finds a Home in the Park House
An art deco building across Birchmont Drive became part of the campus in 1991 when the Bemidji State Foundation & Alumni Association bought it from the Park family for $92,000. Completed in 1936, the gem of Moderne architecture had been home to creamery owner David Park and was added to the national historic register in 1988. Interim President Linda Baer formally dedicated the house, which remains headquarters for the BSU Alumni & Foundation.
Apartments Help Parents Succeed
Among BSU’s noteworthy innovations was the 1990 renovation of an entire wing of Pine Hall into Cedar Apartments — a home for some of its 300 students who were single parents. The 28 units were one-, two- and three-bedroom, and daycare and playground facilities were extended outside. The initiative, certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, drew inquiries and later imitators from around the nation.
BSU Centennial History Walk
Download a JPEG version of the original “1990s” decade banner used in the BSU History Walk during the university’s Centennial Kickoff Celebration on April 12, 2018. Right-click the image to the right and use the “save image as…” option, or download a PDF.