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Huntington, Trine part of Arizona initiative

Huntington University is in the midst of creating a new campus in Peoria. No, not the one in Illinois. The one in Arizona.

The opportunity came out of a conversation with Trine University in Angola and St. Scholastica College in Duluth, Minn., which are two of the university’s sister schools, Huntington University President Sherilyn Emberton said.

Huntington University introduced the idea to Peoria’s city council in October, and the university’s Board of Trustees officially approved the proposal in April.

Trine and St. Scholastica were already talking with Peoria officials to create higher-education programs that would fill a gap in the area for private schools and certain programs, Emberton said.

“They haven’t been able to attract the institutions they want,” Emberton said.

Trine, St. Scholastica and Huntington will also be able to bring more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs to the table, such as nursing, digital arts, graphic design and engineering, said Jeff Berggren, Huntington University’s senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing.

Because Indiana has 31 private colleges, Berggren said, there’s a lot of collective experience to share with a city like Peoria.

The details are being worked out, he added, including location, cost and funding sources. Emberton will take a trip to Peoria in August to continue talks with the city. In early fall, the university will take a final document to Peoria’s city council for approval.

The idea, Berggren said, is for Huntington University to initially lease classroom space from Trine University, which already has property in Peoria. Over the next few years, all three colleges would come together to create a centralized campus. But for now, the goal is to have the initial idea fully approved.

“It’s been an active summer, and it continues to move along,” Berggren said.