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Mayor’s memo: Normandale College celebrates 50 years

Bloomington entered a new era of higher education readiness when Normandale Community College opened on September 23, 1968. At the time, suburban higher education was a new concept. Few realized the importance of junior colleges and technical colleges outside the urban core.

Now the motto, “your college, your community” aptly describes how Normandale’s role is intertwined in the fabric of our city. The college holds a key to learning that opens doors for all of us to succeed. If you haven’t taken classes there, a family member, friend or coworker you know probably has. Over the years more than 300,000 students have attended the college.

Normandale Infograph

Today Normandale ranks as the largest two-year college in Minnesota, with a notable record of growth. The curriculum covers more than 60 liberal arts and science areas. Degrees and programs prepare students for professional and technical careers and lead to bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges and universities. Normandale offers skilled preparation for upper division academic study as well as jobs in the workplace. Academic institutions and employers throughout the Midwest recognize Normandale’s commitment to student excellence. It’s an impressive tradition and reaching 50 is cause for a celebration. 

An array of community activities commemorated the milestone in September, and will continue throughout the academic year. During a Jubilee Open House, I spoke about the evolution of Normandale and the impact of education in our community. It was a time to take pause and recognize education pioneers, including former Minnesota State Legislator and Bloomington businessman Joseph P. Graw. Few understood the importance of suburban colleges in the mid-20th century, but Graw did. His steadfast determination led to Normandale Community College’s landmark location in Bloomington. Graw passed away a few weeks before the college’s 50-year celebration, but his legacy continues in a proud history of educational distinction. 

For information, visit or call 952-358-8200.