Skip to main content

Preska, Margaret R., 1938-. Oral History Interview, 2012

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SMHC Collection 0265


The Preska collection consists of an audio CD and a biographical form for an oral history interview conducted between Preska and Ashley Portra in 2012. In this interview, Preska talks about her career at Mankato State College as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Equal Opportunity Officer from 1975 to 1979 and President from 1979 to 1992. Specifically, Preska shares memories about Marie Bruce and her own involvement in the Greek community.

This oral history interview was conducted as part of the Tell Your MSU Story Oral History Project conducted by the Southern Minnesota Historical Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Some items in this collection have been digitized and are located at:


  • 2012

Biographical / Historical

Margaret Robinson Preska served as president of Mankato State University from 1979 to 1992. She also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Equal Opportunity Officer from 1975 to 1979.

Her tenure at Mankato State University included an increase in enrollment to 16,500 students, and the campus also saw considerable new construction, including the Ostrander-Student Bell Tower, Andreas Observatory, Wissink Center and the Memorial Library addition. She led efforts to fund three construction projects using private dollars raised by the University Foundation. The Wiecking Annex was the first privately funded building for state use (1983), followed by Pennington Hall (1986) and the Alumni and Foundation Building (1988-89). Preska also led the expansion of new programs and the establishment of a major development program among friends of the University.

Prior to joining then Mankato State University, Preska was academic dean, instructor and assistant at LaVerne College in LaVerne, California. She began her career as a kindergarten and high school history teacher in California. She later taught history and did research in Russia while serving as Scholar in Residence at Winona State University from 1993 to 1998. Preska was the founding campus chief executive officer of Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 1998 to 2000. She served as National President of Camp Fire Boys and Girls from 1985 to 1987 and was a member of the Board of Directors of Xcel Energy from 1980 until May 2010. Currently, she is a member of Women Directors and Officers in Public Utilities and on the boards of directors of SUNY Brockport Foundation and Milkweed Editions, a literary and educational publisher. She is affiliated with several organizations, including the Retired President’s Association of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the St. Paul/Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations, Rotary, Minnesota Women's

Economic Roundtable, the American Historical Association, Blue Earth County Historical Society, Society of Distinguished Alumni of Pennsylvania State University and Horizon 100. Dr. Preska was appointed by the State University Board to be a Distinguished Service Professor in 1992 and was honored in 2009 with a Doctor of Humane Letters from the State University of New York Board of Regents.

Preska earned a bachelor’s degree at SUNY Brockport, where she graduated summa cum laude at the age of 19. She earned a master’s degree at The Pennsylvania State University, a doctoral degree at Claremont Graduate University and further studied at Manchester College of Oxford University.

Information pulled from


2.00 folders

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Margaret R. Preska donated this collection on September 11, 2017.

Preska, Margaret R., 1938-. Oral History Interview, 2012
Mee Xiong processed this collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2018-10: Adam Smith made additions to this collection

Repository Details

Part of the Southern Minnesota Historical Center Repository

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Memorial Library
PO Box 8419
Mankato MN 56002-8419 US