(Wilkes-Barre, PA – July 9, 2012) -- Wilkes University will offer master’s degrees in business administration, creative writing, education and engineering management in Mesa, Ariz., starting in January 2013. Wilkes is the latest college to offer programs in Mesa under the city’s new economic development initiative. Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding, signed at the Mesa city council meeting on July 9, Wilkes will operate a center in Arizona as part of the initiative.
Wilkes University president Patrick F. Leahy attended the council meeting to mark the beginning of Wilkes’ commitment to the residents of Mesa.
“We are excited to partner with the city of Mesa and be part of this vibrant community,” said Leahy. “Wilkes is committed to academic excellence and personalized attention, values that have produced student success for nearly 80 years. We are thrilled to bring this kind of education to Arizona.”
In announcing the agreement with Wilkes, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said, “Mesa is very fortunate to add Wilkes to our growing list of higher education choices in the City. The university has an outstanding reputation and we are pleased they will be offering a variety of academic programs for residents of Mesa and the entire valley.”
Wilkes intends to offer additional programs starting in fall 2013, including undergraduate degrees in engineering, accounting and entrepreneurship and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Wilkes is one of four colleges participating in the H.E.A.T. (Healthcare, Education, Aerospace, Technology/Tourism) Initiative for Economic Development in Mesa, designed to increase college competition and spur economic growth.
The memorandum of understanding is a non-binding commitment between the City of Mesa and Wilkes. Wilkes and city officials will now negotiate a formal agreement that will include a five-year lease to locate in the Mesa Center for Higher Education, with occupancy by fall 2013. The Mesa Center for Higher Education will be located at 245 W. 2nd St. in downtown Mesa. The 53,000-square-foot facility was formerly the Mesa city court building. Initial programs will launch at a temporary location in January.
“This is an opportunity, not only for students in the greater Mesa area, but also for our campus students. We hope to offer enriching exchange, research and internship opportunities to diversify the student education experience,” said Michael Speziale, dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies and the School of Education.
“The world-class companies in Mesa are ideal for our master’s degree programs. Working adults looking to advance their career can do so in a convenient location and supportive environment,” Speziale said. “We hope to collaborate with corporate partners to create unique learning experiences that benefit the company, their employees and our students.”
“We have a very high-quality MBA that’s known regionally for excellence,” said Anthony L. Liuzzo, MBA director and professor of business and economics. “This is an opportunity to go beyond our historic boundaries and extend our program to a new audience.”
About Wilkes University
Wilkes University is an independent institution of higher education dedicated to academic and intellectual excellence through mentoring in the liberal arts, sciences and professional programs. Founded in 1933, the university provides its students with the experience, mentoring and education necessary for career and intellectual development as well as personal growth. Recently named one of the fastest-growing universities in the United States by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilkes offers the doctor of nursing practice, doctor of education and doctor of pharmacy degrees and more than a dozen master’s degree programs, including the master of business administration and master of fine arts in creative writing. www.wilkes.edu
Mayor Scott Smith introduced the H.E.A.T. Initiative for Economic Development soon after taking office in 2008. H.E.A.T. focuses on Mesa, Arizona’s six economic development strengths: Healthcare, Education/Energy, Aerospace and Tourism/Technology. Focusing on our strengths has allowed Mesa to land major companies and educational institutions. Most recently, Mesa welcomed four established private liberal arts universities and colleges to open branch campuses in downtown, delivering on the “E” in H.E.A.T. Other successes include the Arizona Laboratories for Security and Defense (AzLabs), First Solar and Chicago Cubs Spring Training Complex.