As Interim President Devinder Malhotra neared the end of his two-year term, Virginia “Ginny” Arthur was readying to take over as the new Metropolitan State University president.
The announcement by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees naming Arthur president of Metropolitan State was made on April 20. Although her appointment became effective July 1, 2016, she’d spent the previous weeks in close consultation with President Malhotra to ensure a smooth transition.
Officially, Arthur’s career at Metropolitan State began in 2012 when she came on as the provost and vice president of academic affairs. She became executive vice president and provost in 2015.
Despite her current prominent stature in Metropolitan State’s community, education was not Arthur’s first career. After earning a juris doctorate from the American University Washington College of Law, Arthur worked at a law firm, a national accounting firm, and at Piper Jaffray as an in-house consultant. It wasn’t until Arthur worked as a faculty member of St. Benedict/St. John’s College—on the urging of a career counselor—that she found her passion in higher education. For 24 years Arthur taught classes in business law, labor relations and human resource management.She even created, with some of her colleagues, a class that replicated real-world scenarios to relay the working condition of students’ respective fields. They coined it the Organizational Leadership Program. Students would develop a simulated company, replete with marketing, human resource systems and manufacturing plans. Ginny co-ran the program for 15 years.
Arthur served as associate provost for Faculty Affairs at the University of Northern Iowa from 2009-2012.Initially, when the position at Metropolitan State became available, Arthur was content to stay put, but a friend encouraged her to investigate. As she learned, Metropolitan State fit her educational philosophy.
“I’ve always been very interested in education as a means of changing society and as being a place that promotes social justice and equity, and it seems to me that that’s just the essence of what Metro State does,” Arthur said.
And for Arthur, who grew up in Ticonderoga, New York, Minnesota is a familiar landscape. “It was a rural area with a lot of lakes, so, in a way, northern Minnesota reminds me of home.”
“Metropolitan State University has a lot of exciting potential,” she says. “I think that Metro State is really poised to grow, and to fill the need expressed by MnSCU of increasing the number of people with baccalaureate degrees in the Twin Cities.”
“The future for Metropolitan State University,” Arthur says, “is one that expands upon its strengths such as affordability, student diversity and strong community ties.”
“I want Metro State to be an institution that people say, ‘That’s a great choice for me and I want to be there.’ Metro State offers really excellent educational opportunities, with strong faculty and good advisors. This is a great place for people to come and get their education, and I want more people to know that and want to come here.”
Want to talk to President Arthur? Follow her on Twitter @MetroPresArthur.