Saint Mary’s U. in Rochester to expand

Published 7:24 am Tuesday, May 29, 2018

ROCHESTER— Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota-Rochester is on the cusp of becoming a bigger player in the area’s higher education scene.

SMU hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 24 to mark the completion of a 10,000-square-foot addition to the school’s Cascade Meadow facility in northwest Rochester. It was a coming-out party for a university intent on growth.

With the expansion nearing completion, SMU-Rochester plans to complete the transfer of graduate and bachelor completion programs to Cascade Meadow that began three years ago after Jack and Mary Ann Remick donated the building to the university.

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For the previous three decades, SMU-Rochester has rented space from Rochester Community and Technical College, where its identity had been somewhat submerged by its larger partner.

SMU-Rochester will now not only be its own landlord, but it will be poised to expand, the Post-Bulletin reported.

“That’s our hope,” said Scott Walker, SMU’s associate vice president, partnership — Rochester. “We really have high hopes for Rochester. It’s such a growing community.”

Its emergence as a stand-alone university is another sign of the decades-long shakeout of Rochester’s once balkanized higher education scene. Within the last several years, the Minnesota School of Business has closed, and Cardinal Stritch University and the College of St. Scholastica no longer offer on-the-ground programming in Rochester.

Where two decades ago there were a dozen or more public and private institutions scrambling for a niche, now there a handful — the most prominent being the public colleges, RCTC, University of Minnesota-Rochester and Winona State University-Rochester, and the two privates, SMU and Augsburg University.