News Release

U of M Crookston Receives Federal Designation as a U.S. Department of Commerce EDA University Center

By Jack Geller, Elizabeth Tollefson on
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Crookston, Minn. (September 4, 2008) – A grant awarded to the University of Minnesota, Crookston will make the campus a focal point statewide as the new Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center for the state of Minnesota.  The $150,000 award, announced recently by the U.S. Department of Commerce will also provide an expected yearly appropriation of the same amount for each of the next three years. 

As a result, the campus, along with its partner University of Minnesota Extension, will provide technical assistance and applied research for economic development intermediaries at the local, county and regional levels throughout the state. Each geographic region of Minnesota has its own unique regional economy as well as economic challenges and opportunities and this grant funding will allow the U of M, Crookston EDA University Center to provide expertise to help address regional needs. The particular focus of this grant is on economically-distressed areas and will help enhance the adoption and utilization of new technology, augment entrepreneurial development efforts and create a client-driven, responsive technical assistance infrastructure.

“I’ve always believed that our public colleges and universities have an important role to play in the economic vitality of the communities and regions that host them,” explains Jack M. Geller, Ph.D., the grant’s principal investigator and head of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Department at the Crookston campus. “Through this new center, we will work to provide relevant research along with valuable technical assistance to economic development professionals across Minnesota, and in turn, they will be able to better serve their constituencies in their respective regions.” 

The technology expertise available at the U of M, Crookston will help in the development of new online tools to connect the state’s Regional Development Commissions (RDCs) and other economic developers and provide resources that each organization may not individually have access to. “It is an aggregation of intellectual resources that will allow us to make a visible statement that we want to be a part of the economic life of the communities in our state,” Geller explains. 

Chancellor Charles H. Casey echoes Geller’s enthusiasm about what this new designation means for the Crookston campus. “It is an opportunity to involve a number of our faculty and staff in an effort to provide assistance and technical expertise to the entire state and to offer students research opportunities related to economic development. 

“This is also an opportunity for us to provide outreach to those who need it in our own region as well as have an impact all around Minnesota. We are excited about what that means for our campus.”

The campus is leveraging monies to provide strategic investments as the University Center through cash support and in-kind investments that will also help to increase opportunities for student research. One of the key components of the grant is an ongoing effort to continuously develop metrics to measure economic impact which includes measuring new capital investment, increases in tax revenues and job creation.  

On October 27-28 the Crookston campus will serve as host to a retreat for the RDC directors and staff as members of the Minnesota Regional Development Organization. 

The University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. Invent yourself at the University of Minnesota, Crookston – become a leader, innovate through technology and research and secure the career you want. To learn more, visit