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Shining a Light on WSU-R, a 2019 Thursdays Downtown Partner

Winona State University Rochester (WSU - R) is just one of many community-minded partners that makes Thursdays Downtown successful! The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) is appreciative of its partnership and wants to shine the spotlight on them! Let's learn a little more about the organization from Kristi Ziegler, WSU - R's community services coordinator.

Katie: Thank you, Kristi, for joining me and sharing more about Winona State University Rochester! Tell us about the organization and how long it’s been a part of the Rochester community.

Kristi: In 1917, Winona State University - Rochester offered its first classes in Rochester with courses designed for teachers over the summer break. From there, we began adding nursing classes and continued to grow decade after decade. Today, we offer a wider variety of programming for both transfer and graduate students. Whether it’s business, computer science, education, nursing, social work, or individualized studies, we are proud to continue serving the southeast region of Minnesota with distinction.

Katie: Tell us more about WSU - R Path to Purple Program.

Kristi: We cater to transfer students who wish to finish their degree. People decide to finish their degree for two main reasons: Learning and earning. Deciding to finish your degree is worth it. A recent Georgetown University study found that, on average, college graduates earn $1 million more than a person without a degree over their lifetime. The WSU - R Path to Purple (a path to completing a four-year degree) is really quite simple: If you already have a collection of college-level credits from another two-year or four-year institution, you can complete your degree at WSU - R. Credits earned in a previous degree (AA, AS, BA, BS) may be applied, once officially evaluated by WSU Admissions. At WSU - R it’s as simple as connecting with the Admission Advisors. They can get you started and continue to provide personalized support as you move through the admission process. That’s what they do.

Katie: Why is WSU - R involved in community events?

Kristi: So many of our students go on to live and work in Rochester and southeast Minnesota and from the top down, we are 100 percent committed to being involved in and serving our communities. We want our “Purple Pride” to show and you can’t do that unless you are committed to the community.

Katie: Why is WSU - R so excited to participate in Thursdays Downtown? And we hear there's a specific reason you wanted to partner for the July 26 market date.

Kristi: Thursdays Downtown brings our community together in a very special way every Thursday in the summer. It has something for everyone to enjoy. I am personally very excited to see Chase and Ovation perform July 26. I am a HUGE Prince fan and this group is a premier tribute band to his music. This just shows the quality of music, along with fantastic local food, vendors, and fun that has defined Thursdays Downtown and what makes it so successful. We knew we had to be a part of it.

Katie: What other community events do you have coming up?

Kristi: We are thrilled to be a part of Dogs Downtown August 3. Dogs are such an important part of people’s lives. Encouraging people to come downtown with their dogs really brings people together. We also are excited to be a part of Professional Development Day at local school districts August 28-29. We provide snacks and other items to show our support for educators who are taking time to do something we believe strongly in, which is continuing their education. We have great teachers in the state of Minnesota because they are so well educated, and we want to help support them.

Katie: Finally, what would you say to people who think they can’t finish their degree or get a graduate degree because they aren’t your typical “just out of high school” student?

Kristi: It’s never too late to go back to school. In fact, 40 percent of college students today are 25 or older and many of these adults are currently in the workforce holding down full-time jobs and even raising children. Many are empty nesters who have always thought of finishing up their degree, and maybe now feel they have the time. It’s a well-documented fact that advanced degrees lead to better career advancement and higher-paying jobs. Not only will finishing their degree produce higher earnings and career advancement for them as individuals, but they also become great contributors to their communities.

To learn more about Winona State University - Rochester, please visit its website.