Arthur G. Crane
In 1902, a young Carleton College graduate from New York named Arthur G. Crane accepted the position of superintendent of schools in Minto. Three years later, in 1905, he left to become high school principal in Lewiston, Montana. However, Crane came back to North Dakota to become the superintendent of schools in Jamestown in 1907. Crane was so well respected that when a constitutional amendment was passed in 1910 to establish a normal school in Minot, he was asked to become its first president.
Normal schools were teacher training colleges. The Minot Normal School was the third normal school in the state, and it eventually became Minot State University. It wasn’t until 1912 that Crane was able to start organizing his new school by hiring eleven teachers. Classes began in September 1913.
In 1917 Crane took a leave of absence to get his master’s degree at Columbia University. Afterwards he served in the US Army’s Sanitary Corps at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC, where he was in charge of vocational training for disabled soldiers. When World War I ended he earned his PhD at Columbia before returning to Minot.
On this date in 1920, the shocking news was announced that Crane was resigning from the Minot Normal School to become the president of a normal school in Pennsylvania. According to the Bismarck Tribune “Citizens of Minot were loath to see him leave…but the salary in Pennsylvania was approximately $3,000 per year more.” However, the people of Minot did not hold a grudge, and it became front page news when Crane later became president of the University of Wyoming in 1922.
Crane served in that role until retiring in 1941, at which time he turned his attention to politics. He was elected secretary of state for Wyoming in 1946. Three years later, Wyoming Governor Lester C. Hunt resigned, making Crane the next Governor of Wyoming. Crane held that position for two years.
Crane died in 1955, and in 1960, Crane Hall, a women’s dorm, was built at Minot State University.
At Minot Normal School’s first commencement in 1914, Crane had proclaimed, “The motto of our institution shall be service – service to all humanity.” His career showed that he indeed dedicated himself to service, rising from an educator in a small town to governor of Wyoming.
Dakota Datebook by Trista Raezer-Stursa
“Connections” Minot State University, May 2013.
“Dr. A.G. Crane Elected President University of Wyoming,” The Ward County Independent, Minot, ND. August 10, 1922, pg. 1.