During a visit to Rochester this Tuesday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty praised the city's major institutions, including the Mayo Clinic, IBM, and the University of Minnesota's Rochester campus. He said the three help make Rochester a significant player in issues affecting the entire state.
"Rochester is the big horse in southeastern Minnesota, and it's one of the big horses in the whole state," Pawlenty said. "We want to make sure we ride that big horse as far and as fast as we can because it's not only in the best interest of Rochester and the citizens of Rochester but it's the best interest of the state of Minnesota."
Pawlenty said the University of Minnesota-Rochester campus filled a significant educational gap for southeastern Minnesota and called it one of his biggest accomplishments.
"I think over the decades, that this is going to be one of the most strategically important institutions for Rochester," he said.
Pawlenty said UMR will not only be of a magnetic effect for people coming into the community, but for people who are already there it will allow them opportunities to improve their skills.
UMR is currently working with the city and a private developer to build a 25,000 square-foot space for additional classrooms. Students have been in classes for four years at a downtown campus. There are currently 524 students enrolled.