Alumni Society

The Society of the Alumni of the State Normal School at Winona was organized in 1875 under the leadership of William F. Phelps. The society's objectives were to promote the relationship between the institution and its graduates and pupils, as well as to advance their mutual interests and the cause of popular education in the state of Minnesota.

Society records do not show any marked activity until 1923, when many alumni were appealed to for donations to the memorial organ, of which, about 600 responded. In 1930, during the Seventieth-Year-Anniversary, the society was incorporated under the laws of Minnesota as the Alumni Society of Winona State Teachers College. A $14,000 scholarship fund was established through contributions from 450 alumni and friends.

After 1930, the Society remained quite active and many students were helped financially through loans from its funds. Biennial reunions were hosted in the Twin Cities during Minnesota Education Association meetings. Data for proposed legislation were collected and organized. An excursion to Washington, D.C., was sponsored and two "Round-Ups" of loyal Winona alumni were organized and carried through to success. Alumni, students and faculty were eligible for active membership in the Society, and by 1935, 173 life members and 40 annual members were registered.

The Alumni Society maintained a steady enrollment of loyal graduates of Winona State and performed important functions such as providing scholarships and other forms of assistance before state and national loans became common. By 1970, it was clear that the organization should be expanded to include as many alumni as possible. The president's office took the initiative in locating the various graduates and others who had been associated with Winona State over the years, a task that was much more complicated and time-consuming than anyone had anticipated. However, with the help of the newly-acquired computer systems, the job was completed.

Today, all alumni are members of the alumni society, free of charge, and there are more than over 50,000 alumni on record. Also in 1970, a quarterly publication, Alum, was created. The magazine contained news about Winona State and its graduates. In 1980, the publication became known as INSIDE Winona State, which was replaced by Currents in 2001.

Today, the Alumni Society Board and the office of Alumni Relations have a comprehensive program designed to help alumni stay connected with their alma mater and with each other.