The Early Years
The Greater Rochester Area University Center (GRAUC), now Greater Rochester Advocates for Universities and Colleges, was formed as an outgrowth of FutureScan 2000, a community-based strategic planning process initiated in 1985 by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. The goal of FutureScan was to insure the future vigor of the area’s economy and quality of life.
The FutureScan 2000 Executive Committee was chaired by Al Tuntland, president of Schmidt Printing, and five task force chairs: Norb Conzemius (Downtown Redevelopment), Lance Davenport (Economic Diversification and Jobs), Carol Kamper (Local Government), Mike Myers (Affordable Housing), Larry Osterwise (Higher Education)
The Higher Education Task Force, comprised of 22 area citizens, made its formal report and the following recommendations on October 13, 1986: Form a Greater Rochester Area University Center with a Board of Directors (community members) and a Board of Providers (educational representatives) to better coordinate, monitor and promote higher education in Rochester and represent Rochester on higher education matters; Complete a comprehensive needs, benefits and long-range higher education goal analysis; Implement baccalaureate, graduate, vocational and noncredit programs and courses to achieve appropriate articulation and optimize transferability of courses; Integrate new technologies into the delivery and curricula of current and future programs.
The GRAUC Board of Directors served as an advisory group that brought together key players of the community’s industrial, education and government sectors to represent Rochester on all higher education matters and to work closely together with the GRAUC Board of Providers, which included eight Rochester public and private institutions. (This partnership was forged eight years prior to the legislatively mandated merger of the community, technical and state university college systems.)
During these early years, the GRAUC Board of Directors and Board of Providers worked collaboratively to deliver comprehensive, cost-effective quality higher education and produce a unified bulletin of higher education offerings in the Rochester area. As GRAUC’s advocacy and influence grew, so too did the number of higher education providers, student enrollments, new program offerings and campus facility additions and enhancements. Since 1987, the GRAUC Board of Directors has fostered a community vision for expanded higher education offerings in Rochester. During these early years, GRAUC’s advocacy resulted in the creation of the University Center Rochester (UCR), a joint partnership of Rochester Community and Technical College, Winona State University and the University of Minnesota Rochester, and set the stage for further higher education developments in the 21st Century.