The architecturally sophisticated library former chancellor Kathryn Martin was largely responsible for bringing to UMD now bears her name. On Monday, Oct. 7, the lobby of the library hosted a packed crowd of people who were gathered together to celebrate the accomplishments of UMD’s former chancellor and unveil her name on the building. “Chancellor Martin’s library is a permanent legacy,” said UMD Chancellor Lendley Black as he opened the ceremony. “As this overflowing crowd indicates, you have done so much for the campus and for Duluth. This is a tribute to what you have accomplished,” Black said of Martin.
Kathryn Martin was UMD’s first female chancellor and held the position from 1995 until Black took over in 2010. During her time at the university, she was responsible for acquiring funding for several building projects that have come to shape the landscape of UMD’s campus.
As chancellor, she funneled $167 million for 10 buildings across the UMD campus. She secured the funding for the Weber Music Hall, the James I. Swenson Science Building and the Labovitz School of Business and Economics.
“This building has made an enormous contribution to UMD, both for what it is, but perhaps more importantly, as a symbol of academic strength and greatness,” Martin said to the crowd in the library.
Building a new library at UMD was the first thing on Martin’s list, and she even had it put into her letter of contract from the former university president Nils Hasselmo.
Actually getting the funding for the library was quite a challenge. The project was passed over the first time it was brought in front of the Minnesota legislature. Martin didn’t give up on it, though. The next time the proposal was brought to the state, it received full funding. The university broke ground on the site in 1998.
“Everybody knew we needed a library,” said Greg Fox, former vice chancellor of finance and operations. “Until Kathryn came, I don’t think it would have happened. She came with a big vision.”
The previous library was in a state of disrepair when Martin came to UMD. The building was small and ventilation problems caused many students to avoid the place completely.
“(Martin) threw everything she had into it,” Fox said. “There were lots of stumbling blocks in the way, but she stuck with it and fought for it. She’s a bulldog.”
The Duluth-based company Stanius Johnson Architects Inc. designed the Kathryn A. Martin Library.
“(The library) meant a lot to me even before today,” Martin said. “From the day it opened, it was more than I ever though it would be. I’m very fortunate and very honored.”
BY GRAHAM HAKALA