Huntington University eyes Peoria campus in spring 2014

HUNTINGTON, Ind. Huntington University is making plans to open an Arizona campus as early as the spring of 2014.

In October, the university entered into a 180-day exclusive negotiating agreement with the City of Peoria to begin talks of what a potential branch campus could mean for both entities. In that time, university administrators have met with city officials to determine location, programs and funding sources.

A full proposal was issued to the City of Peoria this week with details for a future Peoria campus. A letter of intent was also filed with the Arizona Commission of Postsecondary Education.

The campus would feature programs such as digital media arts, exercise science, kinesiology and nursing. Two other institutions, Trine University of 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 based on their unique strengths.

"We've been blessed for more than 115 years to serve students on our Huntington campus. It's exciting to have an opportunity to expand the reach of our mission into the growing and underserved Southwest," said Dr. Ann McPherren, senior vice president for strategy.

The HU Board of Trustees will vote on the new campus at its April 26 meeting, and the City of Peoria will vote at its May 7 council meeting.

"Huntington has developed into one of the strongest regional universities in the Midwest, but we also recognize this is a crowded region for higher education," said Jeff Berggren, senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing. "The potential of going to a huge metro area in a state that has very few private colleges and no other CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) institutions there is really very exciting for us."