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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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University Responds to Community Call for Downtown Presence

Three University entities moving to downtown Mankato office building to further engagement with businesses, community.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 1-30-2017

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport announced today that in response to increasing interest from community and business leaders, and thanks to a rent-free donation from local residents Curt and Debbie Fisher (pictured in photo at right), that the University would move three entities to a Mankato office building – the former “Hubbard Building” – located at 424 North Riverfront Drive, beginning in February.

Davenport said the move by the University’s Division of Strategic Partnerships, including the Center for Talent Development and Small Business Development Center, along with the University’s new Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (housed within the College of Business) to Mankato’s Old Town commercial district would create more opportunities for students as well as local and regional businesses.

“We thank the Fishers for making this move possible,” said Davenport. “We’ve had conversations with local business leaders for many years about such a move, but there was even more interest in making this happen after the Greater Mankato Growth ‘Inter-City Leadership Visit’ to Columbia, Missouri, just over a year ago.”

A Mankato delegation comprised of 80 leaders from business, government and nonprofit sectors traveled to Columbia, Mo., home to the University of Missouri, in November 2015, to examine that community’s initiatives, goals and successes as a way to help generate new ideas for Mankato.

Davenport said the University’s presence downtown would provide students “real-world experiences and project-based learning conducted in partnership with business, while also creating opportunities for internships and research.”

Davenport also said University students would be more accessible for hiring by area businesses, which is important, he said, to help counter the possibility of increasing shortages of employees and talent in the region in the coming years.

Jonathan Zierdt, president and CEO of Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. and Curt Fisher, who with his wife, Debbie, donated the space rent-free to the University, both said the University’s presence downtown would be a potential catalyst for growth in the region.

“Establishing a University presence in the City Center further enhances the vibrancy of our region’s urban core and creates a very accessible avenue for local businesses to match their employment needs with Minnesota State Mankato students looking to enter the workforce or gain valuable experience through internships and research,” said Zierdt. “Opportunities for both students and businesses created through this new venture at the Hubbard building will contribute to strengthening our region’s future employment outlook.”

“We are happy to find an exciting new use for the Hubbard property that creates new growth, new opportunities and a new vision that benefits Old Town and the community,” said Fisher. “Bringing the University to downtown Mankato will connect the talent of the University, students and faculty to innovative thinking – that brings new ideas, business, industry and the communities together. Entrepreneurs can collaborate and innovate.”

Minnesota State Mankato will occupy approximately 6,000 square feet in the former Hubbard building, and some renovations in the space will occur in the coming weeks, with University staff scheduled to begin moving in shortly thereafter. Public events to showcase the renovated University space will be scheduled and announced later.

For more information, contact Minnesota State Mankato Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Michael Gustafson by phone at 507-389-5567 or by email at

Under Gustafson’s leadership, the Division of Strategic Partnerships works with businesses and communities throughout the state to create mutually beneficial connections to the University. Partnerships may include internships, employee recruitment, research, data analysis and more, matching the skills, talents and expertise of Minnesota State Mankato’s students, faculty and staff to the needs of business, education and communities. The Center for Talent Development, led by Louise Dickmeyer, interim director of continuing education & professional development, engages leaders across industries and disciplines to meet continuing and professional education needs.

The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship is part of the University’s College of Business and serves the entire University (students, faculty and staff) as well as alumni and private and public businesses and organizations. The Center’s mission is to facilitate the launch of the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and dynamic organizations through education, research and outreach. The Center is led by interim director Yvonne Cariveau, a Minnesota State Mankato alumna, founder/owner/president of Voyageurweb and recent instructor of the College of Business’s capstone entrepreneurship course.

The Small Business Development Center has been affiliated with Minnesota State Mankato since 2011. Currently housed on campus in the Alumni Foundation Center, the SBDC serves approximately 400 clients in nine counties annually. It provides professional services at no cost to pre-venture, emerging and established business owners. Julie Nelson, interim director, leads the SBDC.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,110 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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