Metropolitan State University President Accepts Position in New Jersey

Posted: June 3, 1998

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL --Dr. Susan A. Cole, president of Metropolitan State University, today was selected to serve as the eighth president of Montclair State University (New Jersey) by that university's Board of Trustees. Dr. Cole will remain in her current position as Metro State's president through the end of the summer.

Since her arrival at Metro State in 1993, Dr. Cole has fostered the institution's maturation into a comprehensive, four-year urban institution serving primarily non-traditional and working adult students in the metropolitan region. Her leadership directed years of enrollment increases, the development of the university's first permanent facilities, significant program growth, and leaves Metro State uniquely poised for continued success in serving those who traditionally have been underserved by higher education institutions.

"Minnesota clearly has benefited from Susan Cole's passion for providing access to education for all who would aspire to it," said Michael Vekich, chair of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees. "We are saddened by her decision to leave, but remain grateful that her commitment to urban education has better equipped this state to enhance both the individual lives and the broader economy of this metropolitan region."

In a decade where public institutions of higher learning have been faced with the challenges of increased public scrutiny and social responsibility, Metro State has thrived. The university has become a national model for meeting the educational needs of students who want to study and work at the same time and has received national recognition for its teaching excellence.

Under Cole's administration --and with the growing support of the Twin Cities business and philanthropic communities and the Minnesota Legislature --the university has developed 22 new baccalaureate degrees, including new programs in applied mathematics and computer science, and several graduate programs; significantly increased access for students of color; and fostered progressive community partnerships with business, industry and inner-city public elementary and high schools.

One of Cole's special initiatives was the development of a concept for a joint university/community library, in partnership with the St. Paul Public Library and the University of Minnesota, for which she has already raised more than $2 million in gift and grant funding. This spring the Legislature appropriated $1 million for planning the library.

"The importance of Metro State to the people of the Twin Cities region --to working adults, the growing populations of color, and new immigrants of all ages --cannot be overestimated," said Cole. "The corporate, business and philanthropic communities in this region have recognized the unique role Metro State plays in equipping their current and future employees to meet the demands of the 21st century. They have quietly and consistently provided critical support that has enabled the university's growth."

"I am heartened by the growing attention a number of key MnSCU Board members are giving to the urgency of providing an adequate resource base for Metro State," Cole added. "It is now time for Minnesota's higher education community to seize the opportunity represented by the extraordinary strengths of this institution, and to expand its capacity to serve the people of this region."

While president of Metro State, Susan Cole was actively involved in community affairs. She is currently chair of the Board of Directors of the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, and on the boards of the Saint Paul Foundation, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Twin Cities Public Television, the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation, Western Bank, and the Jeremiah Program.

Prior to joining Metro State in 1993, President Cole held various administrative and faculty positions at the City University of New York, at Antioch University, and at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She earned three degrees in English and American literature: a bachelor of arts degree from Columbia University's Barnard College and both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Brandeis University.

Metropolitan State University, one of seven Minnesota state universities, serves approximately 8,500 students each year and graduates 1,000 students annually. The university offers flexible programs leading to baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Metro State currently has more than 13,000 alumni, most of whom live and work in the Twin Cities region.

Montclair State University was founded in 1908 and awarded University status by the state of New Jersey in 1994. As the second largest university in New Jersey, with approximately 13,000 students, Montclair State is a comprehensive institution with a commitment to teaching excellence, program diversity and student access. With nearly 3,100 graduate students, the university also has an excellent record of providing advanced education to employed professionals in the region.