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Cali Owings, Published December 17 2013

MSUM to rename science lab building after former Sen. Keith Langseth

MOORHEAD – Minnesota State University Moorhead will rename its science laboratory building in honor of longtime Glyndon state Sen. Keith Langseth, who helped make new buildings and renovated lab spaces a reality at college campuses throughout the state.

The $21 million building, which opened in 2004, was part of a statewide investment in college lab spaces during Langseth’s nine years as chairman of the Minnesota Senate committee that oversees capital investment projects.

After touring campuses throughout the state and seeing labs in poor condition, Langseth said building and replacing science facilities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System became his top priority.

“I thought those students deserved to go into a laboratory building that didn’t stink, wasn’t overcrowded and wasn’t unsafe,” Langseth said.

Higher education infrastructure, especially in the sciences, was important to Langseth. An estimated $1.3 billion in higher education projects were funded during his tenure, including renovations to MSUM’s MacLean and Hagen halls.

Langseth said he took heat for the amount of money in bonding bills devoted to higher education.

State dollars for bonding projects, “weren’t just handed to me,” he said, but hard-fought in conference committee with the House and in meetings with the governor.

“I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I got close to everything,” he said, adding that he’s honored to be recognized for his work.

A dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting Thursday morning will make the name change official. System Chancellor Steven Rosenstone will speak at the dedication along with MSUM President Edna Szymanski, Dean Michelle Malott and Langseth.

Langseth, who retired from the Legislature in 2012 after representing the area for more than three decades, will also receive an honorary doctorate degree from MSUM during commencement Thursday afternoon.

During the commencement ceremony, Langseth will speak to students about the future.

Though he went into farming immediately after graduating from high school, Langseth believes “higher education of one kind or another is the future of the state.”

If you go

What: Dedication and ribbon-cutting

When: 10:30 a.m. Thursday

Where: Langseth Hall Atrium (formerly the Science Laboratory) at the corner of 11th Street and Sixth Avenue.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599