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Bemidji State University

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Bemidji State University
Bemidji State University seal.svg
Former names
Bemidji State Normal School;
Bemidji State Teachers College;
Bemidji State College
Type Public
Established 1919
Endowment $10,912,494
President Faith Hensrud
Provost Michael Anderson (interim)
Academic staff
Students 6,349[1]
Undergraduates 5,912
Postgraduates 437
Location Bemidji, Minnesota, U.S.
47°28′54″N 94°52′32″W / 47.48175°N 94.87557°W / 47.48175; -94.87557Coordinates: 47°28′54″N 94°52′32″W / 47.48175°N 94.87557°W / 47.48175; -94.87557
Campus Suburban
Colors Green and white[2]
Nickname Beavers
Sporting affiliations


Mascot Bucky the Beaver
Bemidji State University wordmark.svg

Bemidji State University (BSU) is a public state university in Bemidji, Minnesota, United States, located on the shores of Lake Bemidji. Founded as a preparatory institution for teachers in 1919, it provides higher education to north-central Minnesota. It is a member of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.


BSU was founded in 1919 and opened under the name Bemidji State Normal School. The first President Manfred Deputy was appointed to run the new institution[3] and the first class consisted of 38 students. The name was later changed to Bemidji State Teachers College, then shortened to Bemidji State College, and finally in 1975, it was changed to its current name Bemidji State University.[4] During the 1998–1999 academic year, the Board of Trustees recommended changing the name of the university to Minnesota State University–Bemidji, to reflect a change toward unification within the newly formed Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System after other larger institutions had done so. Prominent vocal and written opposition from students, alumni, and local Bemidji residents forced the board to withdraw the recommendation to change the name. Current enrollment is about 5,300 students, with students from 44 US states and 40 countries.

Presidents of Bemidji State University[edit]

Dr. Faith Hensrud was named Bemidji State University's eleventh president on April 20, 2016, and took office on July 1, 2016. Hensrud previously worked at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, having served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs since 2012.[5]

There have been eleven presidents in the 97-year history of Bemidji State University.[6]

President Years of Service
1 Manfred W. Deputy 1919–1938
2 C.R. Sattgast 1938–1964
3 Harry F. Bangsberg 1964–1967
4 R.D. Decker 1968–1980
5 Rebecca Stafford 1980–1982
6 Lowell Gillett 1982–1990
7 Leslie Duly 1990–1993
8 M. James Bensen 1994–2001
9 Jon E. Quistgaard 2001–2010
10 Richard Hanson 2010–2016
11 Faith Hensrud 2016–present

Academic programs[edit]

Bemidji State University is becoming well known for its programs and conferences in writing.[citation needed] It offers the only BFA in professional and creative writing in the MnSCU system. The program includes a minor and certificates in electronic writing, consisting of courses in weblogs, wikis, web content writing, web design, digital rhetoric, and teaching writing with technology. Bemidji State also has a 96% rate of social work majors passing their licensing exams compared to the 76% rate for the entire state. In addition, Sattgast Hall is home to a number of natural sciences programs and pre-professional studies.

University rankings
Forbes[7] RNP
U.S. News & World Report[8] 92
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[9] 455

Foreign programs[edit]

For 16 years BSU has had a relationship with Liaoning University, a university in China. Each year a professor from Liaoning University goes to BSU to teach Chinese and each summer BSU students participate in "Sino-Summer", a month-long visit to China with half of the time spent at Liaoning University and half touring other parts of China including Beijing, Xi'an and Guilin. In 2007, for the first time in almost two decades, no group of BSU students went to China through the Sino-Summer program.


The school sports teams are called the Beavers and compete in NCAA Division II, except in men's ice hockey and women's ice hockey. The Beavers are members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in most sports, with the men's hockey team competing at the Division I level.

Homecoming tradition[edit]

In a tradition dating back to the mid-1990s, anytime the team wins homecoming, the players run from the football stadium to nearby Lake Bemidji and dive in.[10] The tradition dates to 1995 when Bemidji State upset the defending conference champion Winona State University in the homecoming game and took their first "victory dip" in the lake. The roots of the tradition date back two years earlier however when, in 1993, an assistant coach attempted to inspire the winless team. He wrote a fictional news story of the upcoming homecoming game.[10] In his account, the team earned an upset homecoming victory and dove into Lake Bemidji in celebration. A real-world victory didn't happen in 1993, nor 1994, but when homecoming victory came in 1995 it was time to get wet. Between 1995 and 2012 the Beavers have won twelve of the seventeen homecoming games.[10]

Life on Campus[edit]

Bemidji State University offers a unique experience while attending. With six different housing options: Birch, Linden, Oak, Pine and Tamarack hall (the tallest building in Beltrami County) as well as Cedar Apartments.[11] There is Housing that fits everybody's needs. Bemidji State University also offers a wide variety of student clubs and organizations including anything from Dance Team to Medieval Club to Spanish Club.[12] While joining a club may not be for you, you might enjoy one of the many perks that comes with the lake side property such as swimming, fishing, boating etc. When you aren't spending your time studying at the A.C. Clark Library[13] you'll have plenty to keep you entertained.

Student Publications and News Sources[edit]

Bemidji State University has several student run publications and news sources. They include CRE8 magazine, the Northern Student Magazine, and KBSU-TV, KBSU FM 90.[14][15]

CRE8 Magazine[edit]

CRE8 showcases creative works by writers and artists from northern Minnesota.[16] CRE8 accepts fiction and nonfiction submissions with a word count of 4,000 or less and poetry submissions of 75 lines or less per poem.[17] English instructor Maureen Gibbon created the online magazine.[18]

The Northern Student[edit]

he Northern Student became Bemidji State’s campus newspaper in 1926. Since its conception, the newspaper has been solely staffed and managed by students, as well as published and distributed weekly at no charge to its readers.[19]

In the early ‘70s, the Northern Student merged with the Mass Comm. Dept. at the influence of James McMahon, the public relations director for Bemidji State at the time, who also served as the newspaper’s adviser. In 1988, the newspaper was produced through “Newspaper Production,” a three-credit Mass Comm. course taught and advised by Louise Mengelkoch. During this period, the Northern Student stopped receiving funds from the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee and was produced strictly on advertising revenue.[19]

After a lawsuit, the Northern Student and Mass Comm. Dept. separated in 1992, and the newspaper relocated to the Hobson Memorial Union. Al Nohner, director of Communications and Marketing, created a media board of faculty, students, and community members to choose future Editor-in-Chiefs and advisers, as well as advise the newspaper. A few years later, the Northern Student began receiving funds from the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee again.[19]

For over a decade the Northern Student functioned outside the Mass Comm. Dept. In the fall of 2009, the Northern Student was without an adviser. After the newspaper was threatened with a lawsuit, the media board appointed an adviser, who was forced to retire less than a year later.[19]

In May 2010, the newspaper returned to the Mass Comm. Dept., the media board was disbanded, and a new adviser from the Mass Comm. Dept. was appointed. During the following fall, the Northern Student briefly partnered with the Bemidji Pioneer for advertising and began placing issues of the Bemidji Pioneer inside the Northern Student. After three months of publication, it was determined that the two newspapers should remain completely separate.[19]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MnSCU Viewbook 2014" (PDF). Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  2. ^ Manual for Visual Identity Standards (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-28. 
  3. ^ Arthur O. Lee. "Paternalistic President: Manfred W. Deputy of Bemidji State College" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-28. 
  4. ^ "History | About | Bemidji State University". Retrieved 2016-04-28. 
  5. ^ "Hensrud Prepares to Lead | BSU News | Bemidji State University". 2016-05-16. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  6. ^ "The presidents of BSU". The Bemidji Pioneer. 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2016-07-18. 
  7. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Best Colleges 2017: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016. 
  9. ^ "2016 Rankings - National Universities - Masters". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c Forde, Pat (2 October 2012). "Forde-Yard Dash: Look before you leap". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Housing | Student Life | Bemidji State University". Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  12. ^ "Student Clubs | Student Life | Bemidji State University". Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  13. ^ "Library | Bemidji State University". Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  14. ^ "CRE8 | English | Bemidji State University". Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  15. ^ "Student-Run Media | Mass Communication | Bemidji State University". Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  16. ^ "About CRE8". cre8. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  17. ^ "Submit". cre8. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b c d e "About – The Northern Student". The Northern Student. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 

External links[edit]