University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

From 2005 to 2010, the Institute for Advanced Study offices were located in the Nolte Center, in the heart of the East Bank of the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota; public events continued to be held there until Northrop’s Grand Reopening in April 2014.

Photos from the archives

Excavation for the Nolte building in early 1936

Dormitory Room in 1936

Nolte Lounge in 1936

Nolte Library in 1936

Nolte Dining Hall in 1936

Nolte Library gathering in 1937

Lecture in Nolte Chapel in 1939

Men listening to the radio in Nolte Lounge, 1939

East side of Nolte in 1939

Nolte lounge with a piano in 1940

Nolte parking garage in 1946

Nolte Library, employee relations meeting in 1948

The South side of Nolte in 1959

The dedication of the Nolte Center for Continuing Education in 1965

This venerable brick building was erected in 1936 to house the then new Center for Continuing Study, the brainchild of President Lotus D. Coffman. Coffman envisioned continuing education programs, held throughout the year, aimed at community professionals desirous of keeping abreast of advances in their fields. The building, designed to serve as both the temporary residence of these non-matriculating community-based students and the primary classroom building for the variety of seminars, institutes, and courses, was reputed to be the first such community-oriented building on any university campus in the country. Institutes in medicine and pharmacy, the law, education, Scandinavian studies, art, and international relations, among many other topics, brought in numerous students who lived in the Center for the days’ or weeks’ duration.

Since 1936 the building has seen renovation, but preservationists at the University have recognized the value of retaining some of the character of the former building. Thus, the lovely oak paneling and furnishings of the dining room, now a cafeteria, remain, along with the four large brass chandeliers that hang from the ceiling of the dining area. Similarly, the lounge and library spaces have been retained, although the latter was refurnished by a local design team in 2005. This space served both as an informal study/conversation lounge for students, staff, faculty, and IAS fellows, and a lecture and performance space. The library, site for many IAS events, also retains something of the original ambience with its built-in bookcases, wainscoting, and two original mahogany conference tables, which have been lovingly cared for over the years.