GRAUC examines UMR growth opportunities, appoints special task force to implement recommendations; broadens coalition of support; successfully advocates for $3.2 M to support the Governor’s Rochester Higher Education Development initiative and $12.97 M for the UCR Health Sciences renovation; examines business plan for a proposed domed stadium.


GRAUC commits to increase accountability; align vision with UCR in mutually agreeable areas; expand stakeholder discussion to explore future growth opportunities; accelerate expansion of the U of M Rochester in areas that will be mutually beneficial to community and state economic vitality; and advocate on behalf of UCR campus co-development.


GRAUC strategic planning refines vision, mission, goals in light of GRAUC Statement of Direction; Advocates on behalf of UCR Health Sciences renovation and youth sports fields enhancements; Outlines development efforts to broaden financial support for GRAUC and assists UMR Advisory in supporting UMR growth and excellence; Co-hosts LiNK Confernece on e-learning best practices; Develops "Lamp of Knowledge" award for regional employers that support higher education partnerships.


GRAUC completes phase I study assessing degree of support for advancing higher education; conducts strategic retreat; drafts Statement of Direction affirming critical role U of M Rochester will contribute to expanding research, outreach programs, business partnerships and economic development initiatives, and commits to take a leadership role in raising funds to support UMR growth and excellence; hosts day in Rochester with MnSCU Chancellor and Trustees; attends U of M Regents events in Rochester.


2000-2002 GRAUC Strategic Priorities: Develop community pride in and identity for University Center Rochester and engage media in this effort; Expand partnerships and collaboration with business; Explore development strategy to fund excellence; Serve as campus co-development advocates at UCR; Increase impact of technology on higher education.


Partners with Chamber on public information campaign; Explores fund development for excellence strategy; Convenes roundtable on "Technology and the Transformation of Higher Education"; Advocates for Horticulture Technology Center and UCR infrastructure for which MN Legislature appropriates $5.9 M; Allocates $50K to support UCR enrollment initiatives and $5K to support "A Quick Guide to Higher Education in Rochester," a Higher Education Providers Council initiative.


Advocates for statewide benefits of a University of Minnesota branch in Rochester with higher education systems and throughout 99 legislative session. U of M Board of Regents and MnSCU Board of Trustees approve Statement of Principles for U of M to take lead in Rochester for upper division, graduate and professional education. Legislature approves enabling language for UMR branch, $2.5 M funding. (Alison Bach Good - ED)


Drives Pro-Ed planning and local sales tax referendum earmarking $20M over 15 years for UCR campus development. Provost Dale Bower appointed to oversee UCR partnership planning. (Board of Providers disbands.) UCR Advisory Bd. appointed. Legislature appropriates $5M for regional sports center (requires local match), $6M for technology enhancements & $3.2M provided by education systems creating TelePro communication network to link business, schools & community.


Community Advisory Committee oversees Hollander report governance activity; opens communications; participates on 21st Century Partnership task force: 'Education and Workforce Readiness'. Systems agree to hire provost. UCR chosen as Virtual U test site. (Robert Tolsma - ED)


Rochester Community College/Rochester Technical College consolidation. Knowland's reports "Bridge to the Future II" and "Connecting Communities" identify strategies to build regional partnerships. Commissions T. Edward Hollander, PhD, CPA for "A Study of Higher Education Needs and Governance in Rochester, MN" that frames the issues and makes specific and alternative recommendations on governance issues.


Seeks release of $600K for Rochester Technical College planning and building usage. Facilitates drafting of 1994 Master Academic Plan. Receives Knowland's "Bridge to the Future" report that shows these trends and needs: React to change faster, easy access for employees, curriculums blend soft skills with theory, offer education for non-traditional students, develop technology center, establish world-class partnerships between education and business.


Receives SEMIF (The Initiative Fund) support to identify student populations served and assess educational needs of business and industry. Commissions Nancy Knowland to conduct extensive focus groups. Sponsors community open house for the new Science and Technology building in Fall 1993. Advocates for $1.2M appropriation to plan UCR long-range campus plan. (Penny Reynen is first full-time executive director)


Seeks added funding for equipment; markets results of economic impact study of GRAUC's 4 public and 4 private colleges and universities, which reveal impact annually of: $140.1M sales, $61.8M earnings and 4100 jobs in the area.


Oversees new building with furniture & equipment; initiates study "1991-92 Economic Impact of GRAUC on Local Economy" by Michael Murray, PhD. GRAUC develops 5 yr. strategic plan: high priorities: assure new building success; promote collegiality; raise funds; campus & land use plan.


Legislature appropriates $17M for 128,000 sq. ft. building; Ankeny Kell awarded building design. Groundbreaking in Spring 91. Dr. Mark Young, WSU, completes "Assessment and Knowledge of Rochester's Higher Education Offerings." Rotary hosts ball to benefit GRAUC.


Legislature appropriates $825K to plan Science and Technology building and a University Center; GRAUC retains SSV Architecture, Inc. for planning. Participates in SRI-International focus group as part of MSPAN study: "An Analysis of Future Higher Education Needs and Alternative Strategies to Address them in Minnesota." Secures $20K from Rochester Area Foundation to fund publication of GRAUC provider's guide. (Richard Spavin, executive director, on loan from Mayo)


Advocates for University of Minnesota (U of M) to teach courses in Rochester; Legislature appropriates $315K. University Industry Television for Education (UNITE) offered through U of M Rochester Center, bringing masters-level courses by microwave link.


GRAUC organization development creates an informal agreement between a community Board of Directors and a Board of Providers (4 public and 4 private higher education institutions) to implement FutureScan 2000 recommendations. M&H Group study notes critical gap between technology-based economy and higher education availability; develops action plan for a University Center; conducts "Rochester's Economic Future" study; organizes legislators' tour. (Jerry Balm, PhD, executive director on loan from IBM)


GRAUC History at a glance

GRAUC provided leadership to the successful passage of the sales tax referendum that dedicated an additional $8 million for higher education capital projects. Governor Pawlenty announced his appointments of the Rochester Higher Education Development Committee (RHEDC). In January, the RHEDC provided their report on 'Advancing Minnesota' and establishing a world-class higher education institution that leverages University of Minnesota. GRAUC Chair appointed a special Higher Ed Task Force (HEFT) which would spearhead the implementation of the RHEDC recommendations with the 2006 Legislature. The “World of Thanks” event was planned and held in March to recognize 20 years of GRAUC leadership.


GRAUC successfully advocates at the legislature to fund a distinct branch of the University of Minnesota in Rochester. GRAUC continues to work with RCTC and Winona State to support their space needs. Board members provide input to the University about their vision for UMR. GRAUC supports the efforts of the RHEDC to shape the future of the U of M Rochester.


2007-2008 featured many new beginning for GRAUC. Kari Takahashi began her tenure as GRAUC Executive Director. Two significant firsts occurred at the University of Minnesota Rochester with their move to a new campus in downtown Rochester at University Square and the installation of the first chancellor, Dr. Stephen Lehmkuhle. Growth continued at UCR with the Legislative appropriation of planning money for the CTECH (Career Technical Education Center at Heintz) project.




GRAUC work during the 2009/2010 fiscal year was centered around rethinking the organization’s strategic direction. After ten months of study, the board emerged with a refined mission defining its role to serve as a lead community advocacy agency evaluating higher education projects for sales tax authorization use as well as supporting and ensuring complementary institutional missions. The size of the Board was reduced and committee structure eliminated to allow the Board to function as a committee of the whole. A Coordinating Committee comprising of elected officers was created to replace the Executive Committee with duties that include:   setting the agenda for Board and Coalition activity, managing finances, and overseeing personnel.


GRAUC continued its educational advocacy mission by supporting the growth of local public education partners, RCTC, UMR, and WSU-R. GRAUC provided continued support for the CTECH (Career Technical Education Center) creation with UCR partners as the project moves forward into the next stage with the appointed legislative planning money. GRAUC also supported the space and program planning needs of the newly-established UMR urban campus in downtown Rochester, which expects its first freshman class in the fall of 2009. GRAUC provided input to WSU-R in identifying opportunities for program and enrollment growth and community-based educational delivery for the Rochester community.

 GRAUC’s new structure in 2010/2011 provided the flexibility and responsiveness we were hoping to accomplish. Our focus was primarily to advocate for the inclusion of public higher education projects in the sales tax reauthorization that would directly benefit community members who live, work, and learn in the Greater Rochester area. We were successful in having included in the Sales Tax Advisory Committee’s recommendation to the Rochester City Council that future sales tax funds be used for a permanent campus for UMR, that the CTECH and STEM Village collaborative projects of RCTC and WSU be funded, and that the regional stadium be completed on the UCR campus. These projects also made it through the legislature unscathed. We will now focus our energies on advocating for the passage of the sales tax referendum by the voters of Rochester in the fall of 2012 .

     2011-12 - Tim Weir

     2012-13 Mike Good

Focus Areas in 2016

GRAUC’s Historic Highlights


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