St. Thomas dignitaries old and new were on hand Thursday for the unveiling of the new monument signage on the recently repurposed Herrick Hall. John Herrick, the building’s namesake, proclaimed “looks great!” after three sturdy tugs on the ceremonial ropes revealed the new permanent display.
The construction of Herrick Hall, completed in 1989, was made possible by a gift Herrick ’54 made to honor his parents, Willard and Evelyn O’Connor Herrick.
When the Anderson Student Center opened, Herrick Hall became the new home of Enrollment Services and is now considered “the Gateway for Future Tommies,” according to President Julie Sullivan. In addition to identifying the building, Sullivan said the signage will “allow us to pay tribute to a family and a gentleman who have had an enormous impact on the University of St. Thomas.”
Herrick’s relationship with St. Thomas began as a student more than 60 years ago, when he pursued a degree in business administration and accounting. He also edited the Aquinas yearbook and was in R.O.T.C. Following graduation in 1954, he served in the Air Force and attained the rank of captain.
He went on to a distinguished career with General Mills, rising to become chief executive officer of General Mills-Canada. When Sullivan asked about his favorite General Mills product, he recommended the Honey Nut Cheerios cereal bar.
He continued his connection with the university as a dedicated alumnus who established scholarships for St. Thomas students at the undergraduate level and in the School of Law. He has actively participated in a variety of alumni functions in the Twin Cities, Florida and New York, and he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the St. Thomas Alumni Association in 1984. He has served as a founding member of the university’s School of Law’s Board of Governors, working with Dean Rob Vischer and his predecessor, Tom Mengler, who were both present at the signage unveiling.
Also in attendance was Undergraduate Student Government President Jenna Johnson, who discovered she was a successor to Herrick, who served as president of the All College Council (as it was known at the time) as a student. Johnson said the accounting practices implemented by Herrick are still used by USG today.
Herrick, who was present when the building was dedicated in 1989, commented that the campus has changed tremendously since he was a student. “Every time I come back I see progress. It’s wonderful to be a part of that progress.”