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University History

The University of Minnesota Rochester began as a concept in the 1950's when Rochester legislators and community advocates started the campaign to increase University of Minnesota’s presence in Rochester, Minnesota.

Several decades later in 1998, Rochester was recognized by the legislature as a branch of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. This designation allowed the Rochester site to develop its own leadership structure and to begin expanding its programs. In 2000, the University heightened efforts to grow the programs and reach of the Rochester branch by adding a new Provost to lead the campus and increasing staff to accommodate this growth. In 2006, UMR was designated as a full and official coordinate campus of the University of Minnesota system, and shortly after, selection of a downtown location to grow the campus began.

In fall 2007, UMR staff moved into the new facilities at University Square in downtown Rochester and welcomed its new Chancellor, Dr. Stephen Lehmkuhle who was inaugurated in April 2008.

Programs offered through UMR were delivered in partnership with other U of M campuses, but in 2008 and 2009, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BICB) and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (BSHS) respectively, became the first two programmatic offerings administered and delivered by UMR.

As programs grew and enrollment increased, UMR developed a campus master plan containing guidelines for the development of a permanent campus in downtown Rochester. As part of the plan, UMR announced its intention to collaborate with existing resources in the community to provide students with housing and recreation and to work in partnership with the city of Rochester to develop a plan for the growth of downtown and the future campus.

UMR has continued to grow its programmatic offerings to respond to the needs of the region, adding the Bachelor of Science in Health Professions (BSHP) degree program in fall 2011. The BSHP is an educational collaboration with Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. Students in the BSHP Program graduate with a degree from UMR and a certificate from Mayo Clinic School of Health and Sciences in one of four health-related fields: Respiratory Care, Echocardiography, Sonography and Radiography.

On May 18, 2013, UMR graduated its first class of undergraduate students in the B.S. in Health Sciences and B.S. in Health Professions programs at the Mayo Civic Center in downtown Rochester. As of spring 2018, UMR has graduated 527 students.

On September 21, 2018, Lori Carrell, PhD was inaugurated as UMR’s second chancellor. Prior to being named Chancellor, Dr. Carrell was Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Development.