M State is celebrating 20 years!

September 18, 2023

Tree dedication ceremonies, staff and student activities planned at all four of the college’s campuses

Twenty years ago, four unique and longstanding community and technical college campuses in west central Minnesota joined forces to become one comprehensive regional pillar of postsecondary education: Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

Known better today as M State, the college is marking its 20th anniversary with special activities, commemorative publications and celebratory events – including public tours and 20th Anniversary Tree Dedication Ceremonies this fall at each of the college’s four campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena.

The tree dedication ceremonies willM State 20th Anniversary logo each feature a brief talk by M State President Carrie Brimhall along with the local community mayor and a local M State alum. A commemorative tree will be planted outside the main building of each campus, and snacks and beverages will be served. All are welcome.

“We invite all who have been a part of M State over the years to come and celebrate the college’s 20th anniversary,” says President Brimhall. “M State would not be the strong and successful institution it is today without the incredible and inspiring students, staff and faculty, campus communities and supportive stakeholders who have backed us every step of the way. As we reflect on our history and accomplishments at this 20-year milestone, it’s clear M State has much to be proud of and many reasons to celebrate.”

Find dates, times and additional details about each of the tree dedication ceremonies by following the campus event links below:

Other 20th anniversary celebrations planned by M State this year include a charitable “20 Acts of Kindness” challenge for students and staff, a commemorative 20th anniversary magazine and website, and other special activities.

More information, including stories and pictures about M State’s history, mission, accomplishments and vision for the future, can be found at minnesota.edu/20.

M State came into being in July 2003 upon a vote of approval by the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, which had previously decided to create the new multicampus two-year college by merging three former Northwest Regional Technical College campuses (in Detroit Lakes, Moorhead and Wadena) with the community college in Fergus Falls.

The union of the four campuses gave them each a more sustainable outlook for the future and was seen as a ‘best of both worlds’ marriage of liberal arts and transfer curriculum with vocational, technical and occupational programming. It also gave the college a sizeable geographic footprint and student population: After the merger, M State was the largest two-year college in Greater Minnesota.

Over the years, M State has created new programs, courses and initiatives to continue to grow and remain aligned with changing community needs, and several major remodeling projects have been completed at its campuses. The college now offers over 70 career and liberal arts programs in a variety of in-person, online and hybrid formats, and serves more than 14,000 learners annually in credit-based and non-credit courses and trainings. M State also provides 500 business and industry partners with workforce development services and other responsive training programs.

Since 2003, the annual economic impact of M State has more than tripled, from $70 million then to $230 million now. The college has served 157,101 students and celebrated 26,143 degrees earned, and it has made the Aspen Institute’s biennial list of Top 150 Community Colleges in the U.S. – known as “the Oscars for great community colleges” – all seven times since the list’s inception in 2011.

“I am proud of the foundation created by those who led, taught and served before us, and of the tremendous amount of transformation and innovation we have experienced since 2003,” says President Brimhall. “I know we will continue to adapt as we move forward into the future, while holding on to the things that make M State special. Our continued commitment to student success ensures M State will be around to celebrate many more milestones, for years to come.”