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Military and Naval Science Building

Vital Statistics






Olson Construction Co.



Also Known As:

M&N Building; John J Pershing Military and Naval Science Building; University Armory

The Military and Naval Science building was conceived by Chancellor Burnett in the early 1930's to serve as a memorial to General John J Pershing. The University had always maintained a military training program, housed first in Grant Memorial Hall, then in the old Nebraska Hall. By the early 1930's Nebraska Hall was inadequate, and provided no space for drill work. Government inspectors had been critical of the decrepitude of the building, which had lost its upper stories in 1925, and was little more than a shell. It was Chancellor Burnett's hope that federal funds could be utilized to build a new armory. A committee traveled to Washington to plead the University's case, but funding was not provided. The Great Depression and then World War II brought building to a halt, the armory project was put on hold for years, and the plans developed by Davis & Wilson were shelved.

As the war came to a close, the University finally realized a financial commitment from the state, which had surplus revenue in 1945. Funding for several buildings, including the armory, was secured and construction began in 1946 utilizing a building design and plan very similar to the one developed by Davis & Wilson in 1932. Exterior details were updated to reflect modern trends in architectural design, but the floor plan remained nearly identical. The building was named Military and Naval Science when it opened in 1947.

During the unsettled Vietnam War era, students nationwide were staging protests on campuses. On May 4, 1970, the M & N, as it was commonly known, was overtaken by student antiwar protesters. Deeply disturbed by the killing of student protesters at Kent State University in Ohio, students across the country staged demonstrations. Nebraska student leaders marched from the Union to the M & N and occupied the building. They were joined shortly by hundreds more, and many faculty. Administrators met with students and resisted calling the police. The demonstration ended peacefully the next day when students left the building to attend a large meeting with the Faculty Senate and University administration. The building was undamaged.

In 2006 the building was rededicated as the John J Pershing Military and Naval Science Building, fulfilling the wish of Chancellor Burnett seventy five years later.

Source Information:
Bd of Regents minutes, 1945; Nebraska Alumnus, 1932; 1946; 1947.