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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Community celebrates new Owatonna College, University Center collaboration

Minnesota State Mankato one of three partners

Owatonna community celebrates new Minnesota State Mankato presence.

2009-02-19
Riverland Community College news release [2/18/2009]

Representatives from Minnesota State University, Mankato, Riverland Community College, South Central College, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the Owatonna community gathered at the Owatonna College and University Center (OCUC) yesterday to celebrate the historic collaboration between Owatonna and Minnesota higher education.

Honored guests Ruth Grendahl, vice chair, Board of Trustees, and Chancellor James H. McCormick of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system joined Minnesota State University, Mankato President Dr. Richard Davenport, Riverland Community College President Dr. Terrence Leas and South Central College President Keith Stover. Community leader Tim McManimon and others instrumental in the development of the OCUC also joined the celebration as well as system administrators, legislators, college faculty, staff and community members.

In April 2008, Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed into a law a bonding bill that allowed the Minnesota State College and Universities system to acquire the Owatonna College and University Center (OCUC) for $3.5 million.

"The Owatonna center brings to life a primary direction for the system's Board of Trustees, which is to increase access to higher education and provide opportunities for the people of Minnesota to succeed," McCormick said.

"I want to acknowledge the community for their unwavering interest in this center and applaud Riverland Community College, South Central College and Minnesota State University, Mankato for stepping up to meet the higher education needs of this region. This is an impressive partnership, and I look forward to the center's continued success."

On Dec. 31, 2008, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities finalized the purchase of the OCUC securing nine acres on which the 25,000-square-foot building sits plus an additional 18 acres. This acquisition will allow better service and offerings, increased academic program options for students, and enhanced community and workforce partnerships.

"This milestone for our system and state would not have occurred without the support and active work of the system office, our board of trustees, the governor's staff, legislators and community leaders," said Leas. "Owning the OCUC offers financial savings for the system and the state."

Public higher education partners Riverland Community College, Minnesota State University, Mankato and South Central College will provide classes. The partnership reduces cost barriers to learners and offers lower division liberal arts, career and technical education, and upper division and graduate-level studies in one, accessible location.

A 2006 study conducted by MGT Consultants, completed at the request of the area communities and the system, supported acquisition of the facility. MGT identified Owatonna as the largest community in the state of Minnesota not currently served by a designated Minnesota State Colleges and Universities site.

"This acquisition will assure continued access in the Owatonna community and a region experiencing a need for skilled workers," said McManimon, president of Profinium Financial in Owatonna.

The Owatonna College and University Center is the newest campus center of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, which comprises state universities and community and technical colleges serving the higher education needs of Minnesota. The partnership includes Riverland Community College, South Central College and Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Riverland Community College, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, is a regional comprehensive community college inspiring learning for living through a personalized educational environment. Approximately 4,000 students are served, annually, through a wide range of credit-based educational opportunities. An additional 5,600 students are annually served in non-credit courses. Facilities are located in Albert Lea, Austin, and Owatonna, Minn. Riverland may be found on the Internet at www.riverland.edu.

South Central College is a Minnesota Community and Technical College with a history of academic excellence since 1946. The college has campuses in Faribault and North Mankato. More than 5,000 students are served annually through credit-based education at South Central College and an additional 16,000 are served through South Central College?s Center for Business and Industry.

Minnesota State University, Mankato is a comprehensive applied doctoral university with more than 14,500 students, 150 programs of study, approximately 1,800 faculty and staff, and more than 100,000 alumni worldwide. The university offers classes online and at its beautifully landscaped, 300-acre residential campus in Mankato; at its new 7700 France site in Edina; and at the Owatonna College & University Center.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system comprises 32 state universities and community and technical colleges serving the higher education needs of Minnesota. The system serves about 250,000 students per year in credit-based courses and an additional 140,000 students in non-credit courses.

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