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Mesabi Range College

The Mesabi Range Community and Technical College is a two-year college with campuses in Virginia, Minnesota and Eveleth, Minnesota.



1001 Chestnut St W
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College History


Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, housed on a campus in Virginia, Minnesota, and a campus in Eveleth, Minnesota, five miles south, has an accreditation history as such beginning in 1923. Despite name changes, merger, and dissolutions in response to legislative mandates and Board action, this co-located institution has educated four generations of northeastern Minnesota students. Brief Chronological History of the Junior College/Community College Mesabi Range College is the successor to over nine decades of post-secondary public educational institutions that have served the central Mesabi Range area. Minnesota was one of the first states to establish junior college education, and St. Louis County alone established four junior colleges in a seven-year span around World War I. One of those four junior colleges was Virginia Junior College, created in 1921. According to the Virginia High School Yearbook published in 1923, "People claimed that such a college [in Virginia] could not exist as nearly all the students would go away to college" (Staupe 1). Those opinions changed, however, as attendance doubled the second year of the college and continued to grow. Virginia Junior College was housed in the public school but had its own classrooms and study room. The College was administered as part of the community�s independent school district; however, the College, as were all junior colleges, was declared a "separate institution by the [Minnesota] Board of Education with its own organization, administration and faculty" (Staupe 3). Vocational programs were not offered at Virginia Junior College until 1941-1942 when students could train for employment in the mechanical trades. Although the original intent had been to provide training for high school students, returning veterans and other adults quickly took advantage of this training opportunity. 1918 Eveleth Junior College and 1921 Virginia Junior College Before joining the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, colleges were accredited through a transfer agreement with the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Eveleth Junior College was established in 1918 through such an agreement, and Virginia Junior College followed in 1921. As a result of these transfer agreements, students were guaranteed that their course of study at Eveleth Junior College and Virginia Junior College would be accepted at the University of Minnesota as fulfilling the lower division requirements of the first two years of a baccalaureate degree. Courses of study included the sciences; literature and arts; commerce and administration; and four pre-professional programs in dental, legal, medical, and engineering. The junior colleges were separate wings of the public schools and were administered as part of the independent school districts of each community. The 1921-1922 Junior College Bulletin clarified that relationship by stating that the junior college was "a separate institution having its own organizations, administrations, and faculty"; however, because these junior colleges were included in the independent school districts, tuition was free. The first class of the Virginia Junior College in 1923 enrolled 49 students who were instructed by a faculty of 17. Mining taxes and corporate contributions supported state-of-the-art facilities, highly qualified faculty, sports, theatre, music, and a full student life. However, by the 1930s, what began as a series of fees became tuition. The Creation of Mesabi State Junior College When Eveleth Junior College and Virginia Junior College merged in 1966 to form Mesabi State Junior College under the administration of the Minnesota State Board of Community Colleges, college leaders sought a name that would be regionally specific but town neutral. The name Mesabi was selected. The word means "sleeping giant" in the Ojibwa language of the local Anishinabe and is a metaphor for the ridge that forms the continental divide running through the area. In fact, the central section of the iron deposits of northern Minnesota is called the Mesabi Range. Mesabi Community College: The New Campus In 1967, as a result of the burgeoning school-age population of the day and a subsequent demand for high school space, Virginia Junior College moved from its public school location to the new building it currently occupies on West Chestnut Street in Virginia. This campus was remodeled in 2004 in order to update science labs, technology access, student commons areas, and faculty and administrative areas. The Arrowhead Community College Region The Arrowhead Community College Region (ACCR) was formed in July 1981, merging the five NCA-accredited community colleges serving northeastern Minnesota into the ACCR regional structure: Itasca Community College, Hibbing Community College, Vermilion Community College, Rainy River Community College, and Mesabi Community College. Arrowhead became the name of the consortium because the outline of the seven-county region in northeastern Minnesota resembles the shape of an arrowhead; thus, Minnesota residents often refer to the region as "the Arrowhead." The regional office consolidated certain management functions for the community colleges, providing for accounts payable, human resources, purchasing, centralized maintenance supervision, and grant management. By virtue of the individual accreditation of its five member colleges, the region was conditionally accredited in 1982. In 1983, NCA confirmed that transfer of accreditation to ACCR, accrediting the region for five years. The Arrowhead was reaccredited for another ten-year period during the 1988-89 academic year. With the reorganization of state community colleges, technical colleges, and state universities into the statewide system called Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) in 1995, a review of the Arrowhead governance structure occurred. The Minnesota State Universities Board of Trustees dissolved ACCR in 1996, making Mesabi Range Community College autonomous once again. In April 1997, the North Central Association conducted a focused evaluation visit of the former Arrowhead Colleges since the Arrowhead Community College Region no longer existed. The visiting team recommended that Arrowhead�s accreditation be transferred to each of its member colleges, including the newly formed Laurentian Community and Technical College, which consisted of Mesabi Range Community and Technical College and Vermilion Community College. A comprehensive evaluation was scheduled for fall 1999. Eveleth Area Vocational Technical Institute Eveleth Area Vocational Technical Institute (EAVTI) was created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1963 and accredited through the Minnesota Department of Education, the US Department of Education, and the Minnesota State Board of Technical Education. Over the years, the legislature mandated a series of name changes for the institute. These name changes culminated in 1989 with the institutional name Eveleth Technical College. Range Technical College By legislative action in 1992, Eveleth Technical College joined with Hibbing Technical College to form Range Technical College. Initial North Central Accreditation of the Eveleth campus occurred in March 1994 as part of Range Technical College. In 1995 Range Technical College and the Arrowhead Community College Region were dissolved, and in 1996 Range Technical College (Eveleth campus) and Mesabi Community College (Virginia campus) consolidated to become Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. Laurentian Community and Technical District Under MnSCU, on July 1, 1996, the newly formed Mesabi Range Community and Technical College joined with Vermilion Community College to become the Laurentian Community and Technical College District, enabling the two colleges to share senior administrative positions, programs, and services. The Laurentian Community and Technical College was accredited by the North Central Association in 1997, and in October 1999, the Laurentian College District was visited for continued accreditation. On August 14, 2000, approval for a ten-year continued accreditation was granted to Mesabi Range College with the provision that a focused visit on governance would occur within a year; and a visit on assessment of student learning, student academic achievement, and general education would occur within three. During this focused visit on organization, the visiting team recommended "that the focus visit already scheduled for 2002-03 on the topic of assessment of student academic achievement be conducted as two separate visits and also include an evaluation of the progress and completion of data separation project." In the Report of a Focused Visit document written by the Higher Learning Commission evaluation team in April 2003, the evaluators noted that substantial progress had been made on the Laurentian District data separation project since the 2001 visit, and no follow-up action was required. Regarding assessment, the evaluators noted that substantive and genuine improvements had made since the 1999 and 2001 visits and granted accreditation, recommending the next comprehensive visit in 2009-10. A progress report on assessment was submitted to the HLC in September 2006, detailing the institution�s progress in implementing its plan for assessment and addressing the concerns identified by the team. Northeast Higher Education District In 1999, the Laurentian Community and Technical College District was dissolved, and the legal entity became the Northeast Higher Education District (NHED). The Higher Learning Commission approved the requested change in governance on June 2001. Formation of the District officially began in 1999 when the MnSCU Board of Trustees named Dr. Joseph Sertich president. Itasca Community College, Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, and Vermilion Community College became members effective on October 1, 1999, with Rainy River Community College and Hibbing joining the District in 2001 and 2004. Each college is autonomous and accredited separately

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The Mesabi Range College Library strives to cultivate life-long learning in accordance with the goals, objectives and commitments of the College. We will fulfill this mission by providing access to information resources and services that support the educational programs of our college, and by fostering academic excellence through the freedom of inquiry and pursuit of knowledge.



he mission of the Mesabi Range College Alumni Association is �to support the mission of the college by providing scholarships to students, building enrollment, and promoting pride among graduates, current students, and the surrounding community.� This work is accomplished by encouraging all alumni to participate in the association and college tradition, and to contribute to the scholarship fund. The Alumni Association awarded scholarships to six deserving students totaling $4,200.00 for this upcoming school year. These scholarships are made possible because of the contributions from generous alumnus like you. Sadly, the number of scholarships awarded had to be decreased due to declining membership. Your continued support of the Alumni Association will enable the board to continue awarding scholarships to deserving students for the upcoming year.