Celebrating 20 Years of M State
Twenty years ago, four community and technical college campuses joined forces to become a single pillar of postsecondary education in the region: Minnesota State Community and Technical College.
Known more commonly today as M State, the new college brought together three campuses of the former Northwest Regional Technical College – the Detroit Lakes, Moorhead and Wadena campuses – with the longstanding community college in Fergus Falls. It was publicized as a ‘best of both worlds’ marriage of vocational, technical and occupational programming with a liberal arts and transfer curriculum.
The merger came after months of discussion and planning by the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, which voted in approval of the plan on January 23, 2003. M State officially came into being on July 1 of that year.
The union of the four campuses gave M State a distinct identity and advantage in the region as well as a healthy, sustainable outlook for the future. It also gave the college an uncommonly large geographic footprint and student population: After the merger, M State became the largest two-year college in Greater Minnesota.
A special 20th anniversary message from M State President Carrie Brimhall
The campuses that make up Minnesota State Community and Technical College have been serving students and communities for decades. This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of M State, which was founded when the Fergus Falls Community College and Northwest Technical College campuses in Detroit Lakes, Moorhead and Wadena joined in 2003.
Over the past 20 years, we have grown to serving more than 14,000 students and learners annually in credit-based programming through on-campus, online, telepresence, blended courses and concurrent courses for high school students and in non-credit courses and trainings. We have served 157,101 students, including many who came to us for workforce development training or to enroll in a few courses. Others enrolled with the intent to graduate, seeking a diploma or two-year degree before embarking on their careers or transferring to a four-year university. We’re honored to have celebrated the accomplishments of 21,532 M State graduates.
As I reflect on the history of our college, I am proud of the foundation created by those who led, taught and served before us, and I am proud of the tremendous amount of transformation and innovation we have experienced since 2003. Our mission continues to focus on teaching and serving our students and communities. The vision of M State is to be, “A success story for every student.” We achieve this through our mission: to specialize in "affordable and exceptional education, service, and workforce training. We welcome all students and engage them in shaping their futures and their communities.”
The transformation we’ve experienced over the last 20 years has positioned the college well for this uncertain time in higher education. Although we cannot predict the ways in which we will continue to transform, I continue to be excited about our future because I am certain we will continue to hire the best people to do the rewarding work of educating and serving students. Our staff and faculty choose to be in education because they believe in our mission. Throughout times of uncertainty, they find creative ways to remove barriers for students and innovate to serve the needs of our communities.
We continue to focus on affordable and quality academics and training. With over 70 career and liberal arts programs at our four campuses, online, and at two training sites, M State adjusts offerings to meet regional workforce needs. We also serve 500 companies with over 100,000 hours of job-specific training every year, throughout the nation and region.
Finally, and most importantly, we believe the students we teach and serve are truly inspiring and incredible; they are increasingly diverse in all aspects of their lives and identities. We meet them where they are and offer support and services to ensure they can succeed. We know our students’ needs extend beyond the classroom, and each year we learn more about what we can do to help them be successful.
We understand our future will involve more adaptation, and we are strong and well-positioned to innovate while holding on to the things that make M State special. We are grateful for the leaders who had the vision of what we could be, together. We are honored to continue to teach and serve students in our region and we are fortunate to have thousands of business and community partners who have supported us every step of the way.