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Grants allow college to consider programs

Northland College in Ashland, Wis., recently received $1 million from the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation to establish a graduate degree program.

Northland College in Ashland, Wis., recently received $1 million from the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation to establish a graduate degree program.

The gift is intended to fund all facets of development until the program can support itself. The college is working with a consultant to identify the best structure and types of programs and intends to launch in 2018.

"This graduate program will expand the offerings of Northland College to its current students, alumni, and a variety of interested professionals, to meet a need we see in the broader community," Northland College President Michael A. Miller said. "It also allows us to fill the growing demand for advanced study in fields like outdoor education, freshwater science, climate change, and environmental communication."

The college is exploring different frameworks from micro-master certificate programs to a fifth-year master's model. A consultant will be working with faculty over the next six-to-eight months to determine the program models and emphases, as well as the next steps.

The $1 million gift arrived in the wake of fundraising recognition for the college, Miller said.

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For the second year in a row, Northland College received an award for overall performance in educational fundraising programs in the category of private liberal arts schools with endowments under $100 million.

"This is an indication of our broader success in strengthening the institution and building new programs," Miller said.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education awarded Northland College the 2016 Educational Fundraising Award, based on solid program growth, breadth of support and other indicators of a mature, well-maintained program.

"In the last two years, we have launched the Center for Rural Communities and the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation, built a new lacrosse and soccer stadium, and expanded our local foods initiative, including breaking ground for a community food processing and composting facility," Miller said. "All of these initiatives stem from a strategic plan developed by campus four years ago - and through strong fundraising campaigns, we're bring these ideas to life and building a stronger institution devoted to creating the next generation of leaders."

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