Special Events

Unit Annual Report






Maggie Larson                          Program Associate, special events coordinator (60% time)

                                                  LaFave House Manager (40% time)

Adrienne Stark                          Student work study/house assistant

Stephanie Buckholz                  LaFave House and special events assistant




The coordinator of special events has primary responsibility for the scheduling, planning, and execution of campus special events with an emphasis on external relationship building.  This position also oversees the management of LaFave House, with responsibility for scheduling, enforcement of policies, coordination of LaFave House special events and activities held in support of the house and its functions.




The Office of Special Events coordinates campus recognition and external relations programs, including commencement, the annual faculty/staff recognition banquet, the student honors and awards day, and special visits to campus by legislators, donors, and other dignitaries.  The Office also assists with the planning of the West Central School of Agriculture annual reunion, the Scholarship Brunch, and Homecoming. The manager of LaFave House schedules activities at the house, enforces the house policies, serves on the advisory board, and supports the house and all of its functions.




The special events office continues to operate within LaFave House, and this combination functions in a successful partnership as the gracious social and entertainment center for the campus and community that Chancellor Sam Schuman envisioned.  It has clearly become apparent that special events and LaFave House manager responsibilities overlap in many instances (special guests that visit UMM are entertained at LaFave House), and therefore it becomes more difficult to separate the two roles into distinct time percentages.


Routine responsibilities include coordinating various community events throughout the summer months, assistance in planning and participation at the WCSA annual reunion in July, planning the "summer celebration" event, and coordinating the new faculty dinner. Additional tasks include acting as an ex-officio member of the Functions and Awards Committee, striving and other dedications, coordinating the Chancellor's Holiday Reception,





"Grad Finale" Day in March, the Faculty and Staff Recognition Dinner, Student Honors and Awards Day, and Commencement.  Core responsibilities include planning and coordinating special visits to campus by legislators, donors, and other dignitaries as well as management of LaFave House, assisting with the Lakeside Event, the WCSA Reunion in July, Homecoming events, the fall Scholarship Brunch, and planning the annual Friends of LaFave House fall gala. There have been no eliminated responsibilities.


From July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004, the House has enjoyed 2,765 guests. Based on those numbers, the House has averaged 233 guests per month in 2003-2004.  (While we have had more guests in 03-04 than in 02-03, the House was closed for two months in 02, so the monthly average remains the same based on a full 12 months use 03-04.) A student worker was employed as "house assistant" throughout the academic year.


The Coordinator for Special Events serves on a permanent basis on the Dining Services Committee, the Functions and Awards Committee, and the Commencement Committee, the Friends of LaFave House Board and sub-committees, and has consulted on the Center for Small Towns June 2004 Symposium, the Historic Preservation event also held in June 2004, the Pride of the Prairie Committee, the Barber Lecture Series Committee, the Welcome Ceremony Committee, the Campus Calendar Committee, and the Commission on Women, and the Academic Spouses and Partners group. 


Outreach efforts included speaking and presenting at each of the six Senior Meetings held in the early fall, service on the Pride of the Prairie local foods group, the Center for Small Towns Symposium, the Historic Preservation event, coordinating the October meeting of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting held at UMM, volunteering at the Stevens County Fair, assisting with the Lakeside event, attendance at several off-campus events, and coordinating the visit and schedule of Peter Coyote, commencement speaker in May, 04.  The Coordinator planned UMM's participation in the Prairie Pioneer Days parade in July, the Homecoming parade in September, and the Parade of Lights in November.  Efforts at promoting the House and its value to the campus and community continue.


Communications included commencement presentations at all fall senior meetings as well as coordination and presence at the "Senior Salute Day" for graduates.  Tours are still offered to the many drop-in guests of LaFave House as well as a narrative on the history of the House and the LaFave family's influence in helping establish UMM.  Policies and various LaFave House pieces are updated as changes occur throughout the year.





Evaluation and Changes Recommended


The budget crisis has seriously impacted special events and it becomes increasingly more difficult to make events "special" when the budget for it has been greatly reduced. Creativity and calls for assistance in campus beautification efforts have become the norm, and the coordinator has needed to expend more time in those efforts vs. hiring others to do it (i.e. making the holiday wreaths for LaFave House and the campus, doing the manual labor for decorations, etc).  Volunteers have been requested more often.


LaFave House has become a valuable asset to both the campus community and the community of Morris at large. Friends of LaFave House gifts have allowed us to purchase accessory items that enhance and add comfort. The guest roster and revenue figures show that we had a very successful first year of full operation, and we look forward to increased use in the coming year. While we knew that the campus community craved such a social center it is now becoming apparent that the Morris community craves such a place for special occasions and celebrations as well.


In light of the above two paragraphs, the LaFave House Manager has become the resident house manager, utilizing the upstairs of LaFave House as private quarters and paying rent for its use.  This has helped to slightly lessen the budget burden and has helped to greatly lessen the stress and strain on the house manager.  It has been an exciting opportunity for UMM!  We are moving toward UMM's first Distinguished Visiting Professorship, and in that regard work will commence to create a guest suite for visiting scholars and distinguished guests at LaFave House.  The LaFave House Policy Committee will be reconvened to determine policies, protocols, and procedures while we host guests at the House.


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