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Iowa Lakes, UI Partner on Entrepreneurship, Economic Development and Degree

Getting a four-year degree or starting a business just became a lot easier for residents of in northwestern Iowa -- and they won't even have to leave home to attain their dreams.

Officials from the University of Iowa recently traveled to Spencer to formalize two agreements with Iowa Lakes Community College.

The UI and Iowa Lakes will collaborate on fostering entrepreneurial education and economic development in northwest Iowa. The two educational institutions made their agreement formal to support students wishing to transfer to the UI for a bachelor of applied studies (BAS) degree.

The following individuals participated in the agreement signing: Harold Prior, president of Iowa Lakes; Chet Rzonca, associate provost and dean of the UI Division of Continuing Education; David Hensley, clinical professor and director of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the UI; and Anne Zalenski, director of distance education, also in the UI Division of Continuing Education. Also participating in the recognition ceremony was Tom Bedell, chairman of the board of Pure Fishing and adjunct lecturer for JPEC and the UI MBA program; and John Hand, president of the board of trustees for Iowa Lakes.

"The opportunities that exist for our area -- and the entire state -- to focus more on entrepreneurial activities such as encouraging students to start more business is exceptional," said Prior. "We want to encourage high school and college students to pursue their ambition of starting a business."

The UI will help starting or growing businesses through JPEC.

"The JPEC at the UI is committed to increasing entrepreneurial activity across the state of Iowa and supports programs to foster the development of Iowa entrepreneurs," Hensley said.

Bedell inspired those attending. "The exciting part of my involvement with JPEC is the opportunity to take young people with huge dreams at the most idealistic period in their lives and try to help them see those dreams come to fruition," said Bedell, who also helped found the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute last summer.

In addition to the letter of agreement fostering entrepreneurial education and economic development in northwest Iowa, the other letter of agreement signed last week promotes the transfer of credits of Iowa Lakes students to the UI, which accepts all associate in applied science, associate in science and associate in arts degrees toward the BAS degree. The BAS is a distance education degree awarded by the UI and administered by the Division of Continuing Education Center for Credit Programs.

"This is a unique opportunity for people who want to complete a four-year degree without having to move away from home," said Zalenski.


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