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Moenkemoeller Turns to Thompson

The university has begun renovating and repurposing Moenkemoeller Hall from a residential building to an academic building that will house the new doctor of physical therapy program. The building has been renamed Thompson Hall after the donors who are helping fund the renovation.

Concordia purchased the three-story apartment building on the corner of Marshall Avenue and Syndicate Street in 1961 and used it for women’s housing and married student housing. 

Judy and Joel Vano (’89) lived there in the late 80s. They clearly remember the built-in book shelf, coin-operated laundry, wood floors and the foot and a half of space on each side of their bed. Judy said the tight quarters were more than enough for the newlyweds. 

“That was our first year of marriage and we were fine with that,” Judy said. “It was our first place and we had a fun time.” 

Now they have two grown children, Jordan and Jessica, who both attend Concordia. 

“Every time we drop the kids off at school, we see the building and think of how special it was to us,” Judy said. “We had a lot of fun there.”

Sharon (Hein, ’70) Bartels said she lived in “Monkey” during her sophomore year when the building was being used for female housing.

“(I lived) with four, count them, four other females,” she said. “Two in the bedroom, three of us in the front ‘living room’ and one bathroom for the five of us. How did we ever do that?! I think I did feel kind of cool about living in an ‘apartment,’ as opposed to a dorm room.”

The building, originally named in memory of 28-year Professor William Moenkemoeller, has been vacant since Holst Hall opened in 2008.

The building will soon feature classrooms and offices, one of which will be named after Moenkemoeller. Other planned improvements include a new entrance on Syndicate Street, a new roof and paving the existing parking lot behind the building. 

Concordia’s D.P.T. program is expected to be in the accreditation pre-approval phase until May. Pending full accreditation, the first cohort will begin coursework this fall in the newly-renovated building. The D.P.T. program will be Concordia’s first full-time day-time program for adult learners.

Program Director Dr. Peter Rundquist said the program fits well in the university and the market. 

“Physical therapy is a service profession and that fits well with the university’s mission and character,” Rundquist said. “Clinicians in the community have expressed interest in the program for many reasons including the women’s health and biopsychosocial courses which are fairly unique.”

The program also boasts a limited class size of 30 and providing opportunities for students to interact with patients early and often within the curriculum. 

“The university is excited about the growth in the health sciences with its latest addition of doctor in physical therapy program,” said Dr. Eric LaMott, chair of the kinesiology and health sciences department and chief operating officer. “Dr. Rundquist has guided us through the accreditation processes and to a quality start of the program which will serve the needs of students and the community.”