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About the Scholars Walk


WalkIn 1998, Warren Ibele, retired professor of mechanical engineering, approached Clint Hewitt, associate vice president for master planning, regarding design of an outdoor campus space to honor the intellectual accomplishments of alumni, faculty, and students. The committee approved the proposal, and the momentum behind Scholars Walk began.


The architect for Scholars Walk was Gary Fishbeck of Hammel, Green & Abrahamson, Inc. The designer and project manager for the Wall of Discovery was Drew Sternal of LAink. Contractors M.A. Mortenson Company and Nordquist Sign Company handled construction for the project.

The Scholars Walk, a wide pathway featuring 40 bur oak trees and lighted monuments, celebrates the research and classroom accomplishments of the U’s award-winning faculty and students, and for the first time provides a prominent, permanent memorial to those honored.

Among the national and international award recipients recognized are the U’s Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences winners, national academies inductees, and Rhodes, Truman, and Marshall Scholars.  University award recipients recognized include the Regents Professors, McKnight Distinguished Professors, McKnight Presidential Chairs, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teachers, and the Outstanding Graduate and Professional Teachers. A special faculty committee assisted planners of the Scholars Walk in determining which names are included.

The Scholars Walk stretches from Walnut Street near the McNamara Alumni Center west to Appleby Hall and Pleasant Street. It is the major east-west walkway on the East Bank campus, complementing the beautiful Northrop Mall which runs north-south. The Scholars Walk was designed by landscape architect Gary Fishbeck of Hammel, Green, and Abrahamson and was first suggested by U of M landscape architecture professor Clint Hewitt in 2000 as a way to mark the University's 150th anniversary. Construction was done by M. A. Mortenson Construction of Minneapolis, with Minneapolis' Nordquist Sign Co. creating innovative lighting solutions for the kiosks and the Wall of Discovery.

Most of the construction on the first phase, from Walnut Street to Union Street, was completed in 2004, with the second phase, to Church Street, and then across the Mall to Pleasant Street and Appleby Hall, completed in mid-2006. The 253-foot-long Wall of Discovery along the side of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building, was dedicated in September 2006.

The Scholars Walk and the nearby Alumni Wall of Honor are gifts to the University from the University of Minnesota Foundation, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, and the Minnesota Medical Foundation. This partnership worked to build and now operates the McNamara Alumni Center. 

The Scholars Walk and the Alumni Wall of Honor are being entirely funded through private giving, principally through the generosity of the late Carlyle E. Anderson, ’32, whose charity also made possible the recognition of major donors to the university in the McNamara Alumni Center. Anderson was among the founders of the University of Minnesota Foundation and its first president. After a distinguished business career in the Chicago area, he was awarded the university’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 1959.

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