News Release

UMN Crookston Kiehle Building up for naming review

By Jess Bengtson - University Relations on
Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Kiehle Building

University of Minnesota Crookston’s Kiehle Building was placed on the system’s list in 2022 for meeting the 75-year sunset provision required of honorary namings and is currently up for review. A campus and community committee was formed to review the building’s name and honoree, David Litchard Kiehle, for whom the building was named in 1912, and provide a recommendation to either change the name of the building or keep it. The public is also invited to offer input via a naming review survey. 

The committee recommends that the University of Minnesota keep the name of the Kiehle building on the Crookston campus in light of David L. Kiehle’s significant contributions to the furthering of education in Minnesota. Committee members included Keri Youngstrand (chair), Brent Gish, Sammy Gutierrez, Rosemary Johnsen, Jerry Knutson, Venugopal Mukku, and Sharon Neet. Sharon Neet, a history professor at UMN Crookston, provided the committee with a detailed report of Kiehle’s life and the information about Kiehle was considered with respect to the Regents policy Section VII, subd. 4, for renaming or revocation, and no controversies or problematic considerations were discovered.

The public can submit their thoughts on the recommendation or provide additional comments via the online form: z.umn.edu/kiehlebuilding-renaming-form

UMN Crookston must submit a recommendation to the system by November 11, 2022. Public comments are appreciated and will be accepted through November 7, 2022.

David Litchard Kiehle

David Litchard Kiehle was born in 1837 in Dansville, New York. He attended the State Normal School in Albany, NY, Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, and then the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. After his ordination to the Presbyterian ministry, he moved to Preston, Minn., where he served the Presbyterian church for ten years. During the last six years of that time, Kiehle served as the superintendent of public schools in Fillmore County, Minn. In 1875, Kiehle became the president of the State Normal School at St. Cloud and continued in that role until 1881. Incidentally, the library at St. Cloud State was named after him in 1952, which was eventually turned into the Kiehle Visual Arts Center. After leaving St. Cloud, Kiehle served as the state superintendent of public instruction from 1881-1893. During this time, he also served as an ex-officio member of the Board of Regents for the University of Minnesota. In 1891, while he continued his role as state superintendent, he became a lecturer of pedagogy at the University. In 1893, he left his position as state superintendent and became the chair of the newly formed Department of Pedagogy at the University of Minnesota, a position he continued to hold until 1902.

Kiehle wrote one book and gave many speeches throughout his career. One of his speeches was delivered at the cornerstone dedication ceremony at the University of North Dakota in 1883. This speech is available from the UND Scholarly Commons in its entirety. Kiehle’s book, entitled Education in Minnesota in Two Parts, is also available online in its entirety. It was published in 1903 by H.W. Wilson Company and again in 1905 by the Minnesota Historical Society. Kiehle’s writings underscored his dedication to education. His book describes the importance of pedagogy, a belief that he exemplified by serving as the president of a normal school and the chair of the department of pedagogy.

Kiehle’s book also discusses a plan that he submitted to the public press, the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, and to the National Educational Association meeting in St. Paul regarding the organization of a school of agriculture. The original school of agriculture was opened in St. Paul in 1888 and was considered a success. This contribution to the educational system of Minnesota is quite likely the impetus for the naming of the Kiehle building at the Northwest School of Agriculture.

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