The Michigan-Florida Bond Grows

The ties between Michigan and Florida have been legendary, largely thanks to snowbirds who live nine months of the year in the Great Lakes State and over-winter in sunny Florida. Even a glimpse at the former Bill Knapp's Restaurant line up proved that theory. Now, however, Western Michigan University and Florida Southwestern State College will unveil a new alliance that will afford WMU the opportunity to offer several high-profile academic programs at FSW's Charlotte County, Florida campus. The alliance will provide integrated programs based on the community’s need and impact on Charlotte County’s economic development.
WMU President John M. Dunn and FSW President Jeff Allbritten will speak about the importance of the alliance for each school during the formal announcement tomorrow, Tuesday, October 18th. Additional speakers include Denis Wright, FSW regional vice president for Economic Development; and Bill Truex, chairman of the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners.
President Dunn reveals that “Florida is home to the highest number of WMU alumni outside of the Midwest and presents great opportunity for new research, development, and partnerships.” He notes, “Our alumni and University supporters are thrilled that WMU is partnering with FSW to become an economic and cultural force in the area.”
Earlier this year, Florida's Commission for Independent Education approved two provisional licenses for Western Michigan University to offer academic programs in Florida.  Final approval for WMU program offerings must come from the Higher Learning Commission, which is the University's accreditation body. Once such approvals are obtained, WMU and FSW will be able to release details regarding various degree programs that will be offered.
President Albritten says, “Western Michigan University’s particular areas of nationally recognized academic expertise match significantly with the needs of our community.” He adds, “We are excited to collaborate, establish a long-lasting partnership leading to, and welcome WMU to Florida.”
WMU, which is known for providing academic programs in aviation, wellness, business, and environmental studies, also works with industries and businesses to customize educational offerings and credentialing certifications.
Charlotte County Board Chair Truex contends that “It is important for Charlotte County to have a partner willing to help create access to higher education programs.” He adds, “By FSW and WMU coming together we now have an engine in place to keep talent here in the region while at the same time being able to customize educational programs needed right here in Florida’s West Coast.”
Tuesday's event begins at 2:30 p.m. and will be live streamed on WMU’s Facebook page: for those interested in following along. 

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