University Archives contains many UMRA documents.  One of the earliest was created with one of the  most common tools of the trade of the early 1980's. The 22 page, typewritten (remember those?) pdf document is titled: "PDF icon umra_history_1976-1983_by_e_gerald.pdf." It is very interesting reading.  Read online or download a copy.

Publication date:
Jul 31 2017


We invite you to participate in a Grand Challenge Course, which will be offered this fall at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus. Grand Challenge Courses (GCC) are special courses designed to address significant challenges in the world, and they attract the brightest and most creative students. 

Publication date:
Jul 13 2017

From the Cares Committee bookshelf: The Industry of Souls

The Industry of Souls by Martin Booth, published by Picador Macmillan, 1998. Available through Amazon (both print and Kindle) and in a Nook book at Barnes and Noble. There also is one copy at the University library.

The book has a beautiful structure with the story taking place in one day. Alexander Baylis is celebrating his 80th birthday by taking a leisurely walk through the Russian village he’s lived in for the past 30 years. All seems quiet and ordinary at first. Then we learn that Alex is a British citizen who was arrested by the Soviets for spying and placed in a Siberian labor camp for 20 years. 

As he wends his way through the town, he talks to different people and is revealed as a wise, kind man, beloved by the villagers in his adopted home. Gradually, through flashbacks, we learn about his life in the gulag and the indomitable spirit that carried him through those dark years. 

For instance, we learn of the moral dilemma that confronts him when his friend asks Alexander to kill him to end his suffering. On a lighter note, we are treated to a memorable scene where he and his fellow prisoners dig up the perfectly preserved ancient body of a mammoth and then eat it after cooking it over an open fire.

At the end of his birthday walk, Alexander returns home to find a surprise visitor from England. He has received an inheritance, but he must return to England to claim it.

Skillfully written, it is a perfect story of a simple life well lived. A wonderful reading experience, it was short-listed for the prestigious Man Booker prize in 1998.

— Review by Pat Tollefson, UMRA Cares Committee

Sunday, April 30, 2017 - 1:45pm
Publication date: 
April 30, 2017