City of Mesa News Article
Grand opening for Mesa Center for Higher Education
By: Kevin Christopher
08/15/13 11:56 AM

Aug. 15, 2013
Public Information & Communications
Contact: Steve Wright
Tel. 480-644-2069  
Mesa, AZ – A ribbon cutting ceremony was held this morning to celebrate the grand opening of the Mesa Center for Higher Education, which is the home of two of the City’s newest institutions of higher learning:  Westminster College and Wilkes University.
“Mesa is Arizona’s newest college town,” Mayor Scott Smith said.  “Focusing our efforts on recruiting private liberal arts colleges has paid off and now our students have a broader range of higher education options.  I’d like to welcome Westminster College and Wilkes University to the Mesa Center for Higher Education.  I look forward to your students and staff becoming a part of our downtown community.”
The Mesa Center for Higher Education, 245 W. 2nd St., has approximately 53,000 square feet with adjacent parking for faculty, staff and students.  The first floor and basement have been renovated to provide 13 classrooms, six labs for engineering and sciences, offices, conference rooms and numerous student study and gathering spaces. The second floor of the building will be reserved for future expansion needs.
“With the opening of the Center for Higher Education, today is a great day for downtown Mesa. We have taken another huge step towards our goal of making the downtown area a hub for education in our City,” District 4 Councilmember Chris Glover said.  “We have constructed this one center, the Mesa Center for Higher Education, with two exceptional higher education institutions and where there are infinite opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally.”
Westminster College, a private undergraduate school founded in 1851 and based in Fulton, Missouri, will offer courses at its downtown Mesa campus in international business, government, law, environmental science, English and pre-Med.  Mesa is Westminster’s first branch campus.
“We are excited about offering the special Westminster educational experience to students in Mesa beginning this fall with the great staff and faculty team we have assembled,” Westminster President Dr. George B. “Barney” Forsythe said.  “I want to thank the City of Mesa for being such a wonderful partner, working closely with us to create an excellent learning environment for our new students.  We can all be very proud of what we have accomplished, and we look forward to an extremely successful year.”
Wilkes University, an independent school founded in 1933 and based in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, will offer master’s degrees in business administration, creative writing, education and engineering at the Mesa Center for Higher Education.
“The opening of the Mesa Center for Higher Education represents a unique collaboration that falls in line with the unique academic experience Wilkes provides, one that blends mentoring and personal attention, while teaching practical concepts that our adult students apply immediately to their careers,” Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy said. “I want to thank the Mayor, City Council and the City of Mesa for their hard work on this initiative and I want to thank the community for welcoming us so warmly.”
Both Westminster College and Wilkes University have signed five year leases at the Mesa Center for Higher Education.  The light rail extension will help bring students within walking distance of the new campus and the various other downtown Mesa assets. 
The Mesa Center for Higher Education was designed by Saemisch & DiBella Architects while D.L. Withers Construction was the contractor for the project.

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