News & Events

Tippie MBA Program Helps Bring Growth to Downtown Des Moines, Cedar Rapids

The University of Iowa is helping rejuvenate the downtown areas of Des Moines and Cedar Rapids with hundreds of MBA students and more than $1 million of investment.

"It's vitally important for Iowa's economy to have strong, vibrant downtowns in its two largest cities," said Curt Hunter, dean of the Tippie College of Business. "As the state's largest university and largest provider of management education, it's important that The University of Iowa and Tippie School of Business play a key role in keeping these areas economically robust."

To demonstrate the commitment, the Tippie MBA for Professionals and Managers Program (MBA-PM) is moving its Des Moines classes to the University's facility downtown, and it will be staying in downtown Cedar Rapids after its current space was damaged by the 2008 floods.

The students are part of the Tippie MPA-Professionals and Managers (MBA-PM) Program, a part-time program where students attend classes during the evening. The Tippie MBA-PM has been offered in Des Moines for many years, but this January, it will move its classrooms to the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center at Western Gateway Park for the start of spring semester classes in January.

The facility is located at the downtown's western gateway area that Des Moines community leaders have been working to revitalize in recent years. The area is already the location, or soon will be, of corporate headquarters for Meredith Publishing, Allied Insurance, WellMark and The Principal, the main branch of the Des Moines Public Library, the Western Gateway Park, and Pappajohn Sculpture Garden. The college will also spend about $270,000 to renovate the facility, with about half of it coming as federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Hunter points out that more than 240 Tippie MBA-PM students will be added to that mix when they attend classes at night.

Meanwhile, in Cedar Rapids, a new, 12,000-square-foot Tippie MBA-PM facility at 221 2nd Ave. SE will ensure that nearly 600 students are downtown in the evening. The renovations to the facility will also inject $1.2 million into the economy, and are being paid for with the help of an ARRA grant, a grant from the Hall-Perrine Foundation, and the building's owner, MBA-PM alumnus Stephen Emerson.

The new facility will keep the Tippie MBA program in downtown after the space it's currently renting at 221 3rd Ave. SE was damaged in the 2008 flood. Jay Sa-Aadu, associate dean of the Tippie School of Management, said the program had also outgrown the location.

"The MBA-PM in Cedar Rapids has reached such a level of success that a new, larger facility was needed for our students," said Sa-Aadu. "We used this circumstance to review our space, and we considered many options. In the end, we determined that staying downtown was a way to demonstrate our commitment as a stakeholder in the development of Cedar Rapids."

EDITOR'S NOTE: University and City of Cedar Rapids officials will dedicate the new Cedar Rapids location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 4:30 p.m.


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