University Events FAQs

A University event is defined as a University of Minnesota entity hosting, signing the contract, and paying for a University-sponsored event. A corporate or private event coordinated by a University alumnus, donor or employee is charged the non-University rate. University of Minnesota departments receive anywhere between a 30% to 60% discount on the room rental fee.

The room rental fee covers the use of the room(s) for 6 hours plus time for event set-up and tear-down. This fee also includes Internet access, house music, custom lighting, storage and any built-in AV equipment: in most rooms this includes podium with microphone and screen and projector. The only room that has a projector rental fee is Memorial Hall ($500 for one 32,000 lumen projector; $750 for use of both.).

The set-up fee includes the use and set-up of all tables and chairs owned by McNamara Alumni Center which includes 5ft, 6ft, 8ft, classroom, high and low cocktail tables, and our signature oval tables. Inquire with your event coordinator about quantity of tables and chairs. The set-up fee also includes all cleaning before and after the event.

Yes, our AV technicians are onsite and provide superior customer service and expertise. Their fee is $80 per hour. Your McNamara event coordinator can schedule a technician for your event if you desire or your program deems it necessary.

Award-winning D’Amico Catering is our in-house caterer. Food is prepared on-site and their sales and operations team office here at McNamara as well. D’Amico Catering offers a discounted menu for University clients. You can reach our on-site D’Amico event planners at 612.624.9838.

The food and beverage minimum varies by room based on the month, day and time of your event. All daytime events (Sun. – Sat. ending prior to 4pm) and evening events (Sun. – Thurs. starting after 4pm) in any room have a food and beverage minimum of $500.

There is a $2500 food and beverage minimum for Memorial Hall events held in April, May, September or October on Friday or Saturday if extending beyond 4:00 pm or beginning after 4:00 pm.

There is a $1750 food and beverage minimum for Memorial Hall events held in all other months (November – March, June – August) on Friday or Saturday evenings in Memorial Hall.

Any Friday or Saturday evening event beginning after 4pm in University Hall have a $750 food and beverage minimum.

University events being held on the first floor of McNamara may also use 1851 Heritage Catering under these conditions:

  • Weekday events in A. I. Johnson Great Room, Ski-U-Mah Room, Heritage Gallery, Minnesota Room, University Hall, Thomas Swain Room, The Commons, Gateway Room, and Big Ten Room taking place after 2:00pm.
  • Events in Memorial Hall with guest count fewer than 200 people, unless approved by McNamara sales team in consultation with D’Amico Catering.
  • Any weekend event held in any room.
  • 1851 Heritage Catering may not service any events at which alcohol is being served.
  • 1851 Heritage Catering’s phone number is 612.624.7173.

*Daytime, weekday evenings, and small room events generating less than the above stated food and beverage revenue or lasting longer than 6 hours will incur a $100 service fee. Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening events generating less than the above stated food and beverage revenue will owe a fee equal to 50% of the shortage.

The McNamara Alumni Center offers two beautiful centerpiece choices that complement our architecture: slate rock centerpieces and wild wire candelabras. Please visit our Items We Rent page for more information. We also encourage you to visit our Area Vendors page for a list of vendors familiar with McNamara, however, you can work with any licensed company of your choice.

We do not allow: helium-filled balloons, non-enclosed candles, glitter, bubbles, confetti, rice, sparklers, smoke, bubble or fog machines. Nothing may be affixed to any interior walls or podiums, and any items placed in the water feature must be pre-approved by your event coordinator.

Please call our sales office at 612.624.9831 to reserve a room. We will send you a confirmation upon booking and invoice you in full after the event has taken place. For larger events in Memorial Hall, Johnson Great Room or University Hall, you will receive an event contract that must be signed and returned within two weeks. Deposits are not collected from University clients. We accept payment by credit card and check. We do not accept payment through the University’s EFS system.

Yes. A member from our event team will be on-site for the duration of your event. He/she will confirm the room set-up, assist with audio visual equipment, check-in with your vendors, post directional signage, confirm parking arrangements and adjust lighting and room temperature as needed. D’Amico Catering will also have a banquet manager and captain on-site to assist you with your food and beverage needs.

There are three public parking ramps located within two blocks of McNamara: the University Ave Ramp, the Washington Ave Ramp, and the Oak Street Ramp. The adjacent University Ave Ramp is connected directly to the Alumni Center via tunnel. The Alumni Center connects to the Washington Ave Ramp via tunnel and the Graduate Minneapolis Hotel. The Oak Street Ramp is a block and a half walk outdoors.

All three area ramps charge an hourly rate Monday-Friday during business hours with a daily maximum of $13. Less expensive surface lots are also available within walking distance of the Alumni Center. If you decide to cover the cost of parking for your guests, McNamara can provide you with an iPad to validate your guests' parking at registration. If your event takes place in the evening, you may qualify for the discounted $8-$10 event rate which guests pay in cash upon arriving at the ramp. Guest parking can be paid for in this scenario by making reservations at least 24 hours in advance in the ramp for your guests ($1 fee + event rate/vehicle). Your McNamara coordinator will happily do this on your behalf as well as send you detailed instructions for your guests.

You can find detailed directions and a printable map of our location here to include with invitations. We also provide a 20-minute loading and unloading zone at our main entrance located at 200 Oak St SE. Nearby meters can also be reserved for $24/meter.

You can visit our Area Hotels page for details on three nearby hotels. We are connected by tunnel to the Graduate Minneapolis Hotel, less than 5 minutes from the Courtyard by Marriott, and a 3 mile light rail ride away from many downtown Minneapolis hotels.

University clients who cancel their event have the following cancellation policy:

Notice of Cancellation Received Cancellation Fee
Between 270 and 181 days before the event 10% of total fees
Between 180 and 91 days before the event 20% of total fees
Between 90 and 61 days before the event 40% of total fees
Between 60 and 31 days before the event 60% of total fees
Between 30 and 6 days before the event 80% of total fees
Within 5 days of the event or no notice 85% of total fees