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Metropolitan State University was founded in 1971 as an upper-division university offering bachelor's degrees for working adults. Since then, it has achieved national prominence as an innovative, urban university that serves primarily older students of diverse backgrounds.
Early on, Metropolitan State became known for its student-centered approach to serving adult students by recognizing demonstrated learning gained outside the classroom and offering smaller classes along with flexible class schedules. Practitioner-oriented community faculty members continue to teach most courses.
Metropolitan State's commitment to serving the community is long standing. The university's many community partnerships include community-based internships, law enforcement and social work degrees, and partnerships with local schools and businesses. The university's nursing program has developed the first community health clinic in Minnesota managed by nurse practitioners.
By 1975, the university was fully accredited, and one year later enrollment topped 1,000. It was obvious that Metropolitan State, the only public university alternative to the University of Minnesota for metro area residents, was serving a pressing need. In 1983, the first graduate students enrolled in the Master of Management and Administration program. The university now serves more than 9,000 students.
During the 1980s, the university strengthened its relationships with area community colleges and expanded its commitment to cultural diversity. As it became a more comprehensive urban university, Metropolitan State hired more full-time faculty and added over 30 majors in areas such as:
In 1990, the Minneapolis campus moved to a highly visible site at Eighth Street and Hennepin Avenue. Two years later, Metropolitan State's administrative headquarters moved to Saint Paul's East Side. In 1994, Metropolitan State welcomed freshmen students for the first time, offered graduate programs in nursing and business administration, and celebrated its 10,000th graduate. As of June, 2007, the university has had nearly 25,000 graduates.
The university has continued to meet the changing needs of the metro area as it has gained recognition. For example, Metropolitan State's accounting program is now the largest in Minnesota, and its graduates consistently place among the top 10 finishers in the rigorous CPA examination.
In 1995, Metropolitan State won the prestigious Hesburgh award for its continuing focus on improving teaching.
In 1997, the university won the Quality-of-Life award from the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce for conducting 25 community service projects to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Metropolitan State's Dr. Nancy J. Black was named the 1998 Minnesota Professor of the Year.
Metropolitan State approaches its fourth decade of service to the Twin Cities with a continuing commitment to educational access and quality for those who have been underserved and those who are bound in location by virtue of family or economic circumstances.
The university's 24,876 alumni include leaders in business, finance, health care and public service. They offer clear evidence of the opportunity and quality of educational programming provided by the university.