Go West Young Men

Huntington University is exploring the opportunity of opening a branch campus in the heart of Arizona.

Huntington was approached by the City of Peoria, a close neighbor of Phoenix, early this year with the opportunity of opening a residential campus in that community. The campus would feature programs such as digital media arts, exercise science, kinesiology and nursing.

"It's a win-win situation," said Dr. Ann McPherren, senior vice president for strategy. "A traditional, face-to-face college education is in our wheelhouse. It is what Huntington University does best."

HU entered into a 180-day exclusive negotiating agreement with the City of Peoria in October to begin talks of what a potential branch campus could mean for both entities. At the end of this period, both parties will decide if this is a good fit. In the meantime, HU administrators are continuing to make site visits for meetings and research.

"We are very happy to enter into these negotiations with Huntington," said Scott Whyte, Peoria's director of Economic Development Services. "Their programs in health care particularly resonate with the city's strong employment base in the industry and offer a perfect complement to other recent developments in Peoria."

Since 2010, the City of Peoria has actively pursued attracting institutions of higher education as part of its Economic Development Implementation Strategy (EDIS). The plan aims to establish university campuses throughout the city, including a residential campus. Currently, there are no CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) institutions in Arizona.

"The Midwest is fortunate to have many strong, independent colleges and universities. Indiana has 31 private colleges, but Arizona with its similar population has only three," said Jeff Berggren, senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing. "When the City of Peoria wanted new partners in higher education, it was only natural that they would look to our region."

Two other institutions, Trine University in Angola, Ind., and St. Scholastica College of Duluth, Minn., are also exploring the potential of offering programs in Peoria. All three campuses will offer different academic majors to students.

"The spirit of partnership demonstrated by the city's Economic Development Services Office, and our ongoing collaboration with Trine University, makes this a very attractive opportunity for Huntington University to pursue," said President G. Blair Dowden. "Our faculty, staff and trustees are very enthusiastic about extending our 115-year commitment to high-quality education and Christian mission to a growing, entrepreneurial city like Peoria."