University of Minnesota Crookston

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University of Minnesota Crookston
Seal of the University of Minnesota.svg
ChancellorMary Holz-Clause
Location, ,
CampusRural, 108 acres (44 ha)
ColorsMaroon & Gold
AffiliationsUniversity of Minnesota system
MascotGolden Eagles
Minnesota Crookston logo.png

The University of Minnesota Crookston (UMN Crookston) is a four-year university located in Crookston, Minnesota. One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, UMN Crookston had a fall 2018 enrollment of 1,834 undergraduate students.[1] . Students come from 20 countries and 40 states.[2]

Located on the northern edge of Crookston, Minnesota, off U.S. Highway 2, the 108-acre (44 ha) campus (237-acre (96 ha) including research plots of the Northwest Research and Outreach Center) is situated in the Red River Valley, the center of a large agricultural region. The region is the transition point from the forested areas of the east to the great plains of the Dakotas.

The University of Minnesota Crookston uses the marketing slogan "Small Campus. Big Degree," meant to highlight the small-campus environment and a degree offered by the University of Minnesota System degree.


1906 view of the Northwest School of Agriculture - Crookston

In 1895, the Minnesota legislature appropriated $30,000 to construct experimental research farms at Morris and Crookston. The Great Northern Railway, under the guidance of James J. Hill, donated 476 acres (193 ha), and the Northwest Experiment Station was established.

In 1905, the Minnesota legislature appropriated $15,000 to establish the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA), a regional residential agricultural high school. Affiliated with the University of Minnesota, the school provided training in "the technical and practical business of agriculture and in the art of homemaking." The school year began in October and ended in March to accommodate farm students. In 1906, the Northwest School of Agriculture officially opened.

In 1963, the University of Minnesota Bureau of Field Studies began examining the need for a two-year institution of higher education at the NWSA and, in the fall of 1966, the University of Minnesota Technical Institute, a two-year (associate) degree granting institution, opened its doors to the first incoming class of 187 students.

For two years the NWSA and the Technical Institute shared the campus. In the spring of 1968 a torch was passed—figuratively and literally—from the 60th and final graduating class of the NWSA to the first graduating class of the Technical Institute, now an official coordinate campus of the University of Minnesota. In all, 5,433 students completed their high school education at the NWSA. Later in 1968 the name of the campus was changed from the University of Minnesota Technical Institute to the University of Minnesota Technical College.

By 1977, the University of Minnesota Technical College had nearly 1,000 students taking classes in a range of degree options in the areas of agriculture; business; home and family services; and hotel, restaurant and institutional management. In 1988, the name was changed to the University of Minnesota Crookston.

In 1993, the University of Minnesota Crookston became a baccalaureate degree granting institution. That same year, the university launched its "Laptop U" initiative, providing laptop computers to all students and faculty. It is recognized as one of the first programs of its kind in the United States. Over the next few years, more than 100 colleges and universities from across the U.S. and Canada visited the campus to learn more about this innovation. Some of these adopted programs modeled closely after the one at UMN Crookston.

Chief Executive Officers as a Postsecondary Institution:
1966-1985 - Stanley D. Sahlstrom, founding provost
1985-2003 - Donald G. Sargeant, chancellor
2003-2004 - Velmer Burton, Jr., chancellor
2004-2005 - Joseph Massey, chief executive officer
2005-2012 - Charles H. Casey, chancellor
2012–2016 - Fred E. Wood, chancellor
2017 (January through June) - Barbara Keinath, interim chancellor
2017-present - Mary Holz-Clause, chancellor


The 108-acre (44 ha) campus is located on the northern edge of the city of Crookston. Including the research plots for the Northwest Research and Outreach Center gives a 237-acre (96 ha) total. The campus itself includes fine specimens of numerous tree species, as well as flower gardens bordering a spacious mall. Less than a mile away lies a natural history area that contains a rare fragment of virgin prairie land with native grasses.

Facilities built or renovated within the last 20 years include a student wellness center (2016), three new residence halls (2006, 2009, 2013), an immersive computer visualization and informatics lab (2010), various biology and chemistry labs (2010 and 2012), the centrally located Sargeant Student Center (2005), renovated Kiehle Building (2002), an indoor animal science facility with an equine arena and stables (1993 with addition in 1998), a recreational and athletic complex, a horticulture complex (1997), an early childhood education center (1999), and a controlled environmental laboratory facility (1998).

In July 2016 construction was completed on a $15 million wellness center adjacent to the current UMN Crookston Sports Center. Intended to offer students opportunities to engage in many activities involved with wellness, this new facility features a two-court gymnasium, a suspended walking and running track, a multipurpose room with fitness-on-demand equipment, a classroom, and areas with both cardio and strength training machines.

In addition to facilities dedicated to its undergraduate educational mission, the Crookston campus is home to a variety of partner organizations and agencies, most of which are affiliated with the University of Minnesota system:

  • The Northwest Research and Outreach Center acquires, interprets and disseminates research knowledge for agricultural and other constituencies.[3]
  • University of Minnesota Extension, Crookston Regional Center delivers educational programs to residents and communities.[4]
  • The EDA Center for Minnesota is one of more than 40 university centers nationwide supported by the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. It conducts applied research, provides direct technical assistance, and delivers educational programs to economic development agencies that support the economy of rural communities throughout Minnesota.[5]
  • The Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies (CRES), established with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education in the fall of 2010, engages students, faculty, and research facilities on the Crookston campus to nurture the entrepreneurial culture and strengthen the economic vitality of Northwest Minnesota.[6]
  • The Northwest Regional Partnership for Sustainable Development connects regional and University resources to develop a sustainable future for the region.[7]
  • The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI), a public non-profit corporation, develops new uses and new markets for agricultural products.[8]
  • Northwest Educational Technology System (NETS) is a coalition of regional higher education institutions employing communications technology to foster cooperation, communication, efficiency, and access.[9]
  • Valley Technology Park, operated by the City of Crookston, is a small business incubation facility just north of campus.[10]
  • The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) matches the skills and experiences of volunteer retirees to community needs.
  • The 85-acre (34 ha) Red River Valley Natural History Area (containing prairie, marshes, and forests) is located near campus and is used extensively for practice in conservation techniques and nature observation.


As of January 2016, the University of Minnesota Crookston offers 34 undergraduate degree programs (majors), 39 areas of concentration, and 22 minors through four academic departments: Agriculture and Natural Resources; Business; Liberal Arts and Education; and Math, Science and Technology. Since 2004 the school has gained approval from the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to offer additional majors in fourteen additional subjects.

In December 2012 the Minnesota State Board of Teaching approved a degree program in Elementary Education (approved by the UMN Board of Regents in spring of 2012). In December 2014 the Board of Regents approved bachelor's degree majors in International Business as well as English. In 2015 the Board approved bachelor's degree majors in Agricultural Education (February), Exercise Science and Wellness as well as Medical Laboratory Science. In October 2015 the Minnesota State Board of Teaching approved teaching licensure for an Agricultural Education major. More recently, the approval of agricultural communication and an online degree in agricultural business, in addition to the on-campus option.

The top five degree programs with the greatest enrollment are Business Management, Natural Resources, Equine Science, Animal Science, and Accounting.

The curriculum for programs offered at UMN Crookston are a focus on experiential learning, applied skills, and technology. Graduates have high placement rates in positions within their chosen discipline. The student-faculty ratio is 16:1, and class sizes are relatively small with 57% of all classes containing fewer than 20 students and 81% of all classes with fewer than 30. Numerous opportunities exist for students to "learn by doing" through special projects for campus offices, undergraduate research projects, service activities, and internships and/or undergraduate research.

As of spring semester 2019, sixteen degree programs are offered entirely online (as well as on-campus). In January 2011, the New Century Learning Consortium (NCLC), founded at the University of Illinois at Springfield, added the University of Minnesota Crookston as its 10th member.[11] The NCLC is designed to assist universities in implementing high quality, large-scale online and blended learning programs.

In February 2016, the University of Minnesota Crookston received reaffirmation of accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.[12] UMN Crookston uses the HLC's Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) as its assessment process for accreditation.


The University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles compete in NCAA Division II athletics in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). The mascot is a golden eagle named "Regal".[13] UMN Crookston offers the following sports:


The University of Minnesota Crookston is governed by policies established by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. The president of the University of Minnesota provides oversight to the chancellor at the UMN Crookston. The vice chancellor for academic affairs oversees the four academic departments with leadership in each area provided by a department head. The associate vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management oversees most student support units. For more detail, review the organizational chart.[14]


The Crookston campus gained national attention in 1993 when it became the first university in the United States to issue a standard model laptop computer to every full-time student and faculty member, something it continues to do (for on-campus students) as part of the campus culture and student experience. Students pay a technology fee each semester to help fund the initiative as well as related technology maintenance and upgrades. In return each student is issued a powerful laptop computer with standardized, preinstalled software. As the original “Laptop U” with more than 25 years of leadership in technology integration, the UMN Crookston also helps students develop day-to-day technology skills in an environment richly immersed in technology and related applications. Employers consistently report that the UMN Crookston graduates they hire are extremely well prepared for the demands of today’s technological workplace.

The UMN Crookston was also the first campus in the University of Minnesota System to offer degrees online, with the first student graduating in 2001. As of fall semester 2018, the UMN Crookston offers 16 of its 34 bachelor's degree programs fully online as well as on campus.

In fall of 2010 the UMN Crookston's Math, Science, and Technology Department began construction of an immersive visualization and informatics lab. Funded with federal stimulus dollars, the project features an immersive visualization room, which allows users to experience visual data in a 3-D format, as well as a separate informatics room with various large screens on which data is projected in various ways for analysis. The lab is intended to supplement the student experience for those enrolled in the software engineering degree program but is available for use by students and faculty in any academic discipline.

Student organizations[edit]

There are approximately 40 student clubs and organizations for students to join.

The Crookston Student Association (CSA) is the student governing body and serves as a conduit for student concerns to administration. The Crookston Student Association Executive Board meets weekly with its faculty and staff advisors to act on student concerns, plan campus events and represent the voice of the student across the campus and system wide. The CSA President serves as the Student Body President. The 2018-2019 CSA President is Ben Koisti.


University rankings
Forbes[15] RNP
Liberal arts colleges
Washington Monthly[16] 94
U.S. News & World Report[17] 115

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "OIR : All Enrollment Data for Fall 2016". Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  2. ^ "OIR : Fall Enrollment Map: Fall 2016". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  3. ^ "Northwest Research and Outreach Center - University of Minnesota".
  4. ^ "University of Minnesota Extension".
  5. ^ "UMC EDA Center".
  6. ^ "Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies".
  7. ^ The Northwest Regional Partnership for Sustainable Development
  8. ^ AURI. "Agricultural innovation from idea to reality - AURI".
  9. ^ "Northwest Educational Technology System (NETS)".
  10. ^ "Valley Technology Park - Multi-Tenant Business Incubator in Crookston Minnesota".
  11. ^ "news_home_page | UMC News". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  12. ^ "Statement of Accreditation Status :: University of Minnesota Crookston". 2016-02-12.
  13. ^ "University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles - Meet Regal the Eagle". 1995-11-27. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2018". Forbes. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "2018 Rankings - National Universities - Liberal Arts". Washington Monthly. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  17. ^ "Best Colleges 2019: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. November 19, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°47′59.91″N 96°36′28.79″W / 47.7999750°N 96.6079972°W / 47.7999750; -96.6079972