Hagestad legacy to remain, in name, at UWRF

Posted September 27, 2021

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has no intention of forgetting the legacy of Herman Hagestad anytime soon.

Hagestad Hall, a fixture on the UW-River Falls campus for more than six decades, is set to be demolished to make way for the proposed Science and Technology Innovation Center. The building, originally the Hagestad Student Center, was named after UWRF alumnus Herman Hagestad — a prominent figure in River Falls history who served as mayor from 1940-43 and from 1950-52.

Plans are in place to carry the Hagestad name forward in some capacity, UWRF Facilities Management Executive Director Alan Symicek said. Specifics have yet to be determined, but options for the future of the Hagestad name will be evaluated as designs for the Science and Technology Innovation Center evolve over the coming year, Symicek said.

According to UW Board of Regents policy, plans for continued recognition of figures for whom a building was previously named are required unless the institution can illustrate a satisfactory reason as to why such recognition is no longer needed.

Past examples of facilities whose namesakes have been carried forward include two buildings that were demolished to make way for the Falcon Center, which opened in 2017. The Falcon Center replaced both the Emogene Nelson Center and the Karges Center. Emogene Nelson’s name was repurposed for the street that runs alongside the Falcon Center, while R.A. Karges’ name was fixed to the Karges Auxiliary Gym within the Falcon Center.

With a projected cost of $116.7 million, funding for construction of the Science and Technology Innovation Center is included in the UW System’s $1.2 billion capital budget request submitted for the 2021-23 biennium. The facility is intended to replace outdated science facilities at UW-River Falls, clearing away Hagestad Hall which becomes increasingly obsolete with each passing year.

According to Karl Peterson, chemistry professor and associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, the state-of-the-art facility would play a major role in preparing students for their futures in the industry.