Posted: February 17, 1999

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

In the spirit of continued cooperation with the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a set of principles designed to establish a stronger academic program at the University of Minnesota in Rochester.

The board took the action at the request of Rochester citizens who for years have said they want a stronger University of Minnesota presence in their area. Winona State University and Rochester Community and Technical College will continue to deliver programming in Rochester, but under the new plan, the University of Minnesota will be the lead institution at University Center, Rochester.

"The spirit of cooperation is alive and well among Minnesota's two systems of public higher education," said Michael Vekich, chair of the MnSCU Board of Trustees. "We signed a cooperation compact with the University of Minnesota one year ago, and this is another example of our commitment to developing joint programs." Rochester and Olmsted County provide a strong economic engine for Minnesota. In the next 20 years, the growth of high technology and health service companies like IBM and the Mayo Clinic are expected to create thousands of new jobs, many of them in areas of allied health, computer science and engineering. The present mix of higher education programs available in Rochester will be expanded and revised to fit community needs.

A new U of M branch campus in Rochester will need operating money from the state, and the plan's success depends on the Legislature appropriating funds to hire faculty and administrators. The branch is not intended to be a residential campus and MnSCU and U of M officials said no dormitories will be constructed.

"I want everyone to understand that no one teaches to a higher standard than our MnSCU institutions, " said Morris J. Anderson, chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. "We have provided outstanding academic programming in Rochester for over 20 years. This is a way to expand that capacity through a partnership with the University of Minnesota."

MnSCU Trustee Nancy Brataas, a former state senator from Rochester, said the agreement is a long-awaited step in the right direction. "Rochester is a critical center of the state economically and culturally," she said. "It deserves a high level of post-secondary opportunity."