The Mission House Muskies: Lakeland’s rich history reveals close connections

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The Mission House Muskies: Lakeland’s rich history reveals close connections

Lakeland’s campus in the 1960s, shortly after Pat Selberg attended.

Michelle Fromm, Staff Reporter

Today you’re reading a copy of the Lakeland College Mirror—maybe you’re even looking at an online version. But it wasn’t always that way; Lakeland has a rich history, and had you been born eighty years ago or so, you would have read the Mission House Mirror.

Times have changed here at Lakeland College, but the spirit of the people has not. The people associated with Lakeland College and Mission House have always been friendly and full of a passion for life.

Take Pat Selberg, for instance. She attended Mission House in the early-1950s, just before the name of Lakeland College was born in 1956 and the Mission House seminary split off to move to the Twin Cities. Offering some insight into why the seminary felt it was necessary to become the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Selberg said, “In those days, if you were educated in the country, people thought it wasn’t as good as an education in the city…but of course that isn’t true.”

Selberg attended Mission House for two years before transferring to the Sheboygan County Teachers College in Sheboygan Falls, which had a three-year program for teaching.

As a freshman at Mission House, Selberg lived in Bossard Hall with a roommate. Of course, these days, “Bossard Hall” is synonymous with “cafeteria.” Times have changed. The Bossard Hall that Selberg lived in was torn down the summer of 1984. The next year, the Spectrum said that it would be remembered for “its squeaky stairs, the loud slam of the front doors, [and] the extremely warm temperatures inside.”

Her second year here, Selberg had a bigger room—and two roommates. If you heard of three girls sharing a room today, you might wonder why Lakeland didn’t have enough space, but such living accommodations were normal for Mission House in the 1950s.

Another striking difference regarding life on campus is that, in Selberg’s time, rules were enforced in the dorms not by RAs and Hall Directors, but by “house mothers” (house fathers for the men’s dormitories).

Selberg laughingly said that she had a very strict house mother for the two years that she was staying in Bossard Hall. She said that she and the other girls were always “locked in.”

Of course, sometimes the students needed that firm hand to guide them. Selberg recalls a male friend of hers who tied a rope to the bell in the bell tower of Old Main and ran the other end to Jubilee (now WAK), the men’s dorm, so that he and his friends could ring the bell late at night from afar.

But Selberg’s connections to Lakeland go much further than those two years she spent being educated here. In fact, Selberg’s husband Keith is a seminary graduate of Mission House. They were high school sweethearts and married in Iowa one weekend between Keith’s sophomore and junior years. The next weekend, the newlyweds drove to Kansas for the wedding of another Mission House couple.

The Selberg’s then lived on Trailer Hill on campus in their mobile home, which was parked right next to their good friends from Kansas, whom Pat says they are still in touch with. In fact, they spent the winter in Arizona together.

Pat emphasized that being a part of the Mission House community meant that “everybody knew everybody else.” To this day, many Mission House Muskies remain fast friends.

Once, when the Selbergs were shopping in LaCrosse, they went into a restaurant for a bite to eat and saw that there was a large group of people meeting there—all of whom they knew from Mission House.

As it turned out, the Selbergs had run into “Mission House Plus,” a group of retired Mission House alumni who sought to maintain the connections they had made so long ago. Of course, Keith and Pat joined the group, which consisted of many couples who had met or married while attending Mission House.

The Selbergs—among so many other alumni that fondly remember their alma mater—are looking forward to coming back to their home in the middle of the cornfields for the Sesquicentennial All-College Reunion this summer.

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