The City of Yuma is working to create a ‘multiversity’ that will house multiple independent universities that will offer a full range of degree programs on one campus.
The Yuma Multiversity Campus (YMC) will serve as an educational hub for existing institutions of higher education and their various degree programs.
“We’ve always struggled with having a full university presence here,” Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls said. “I was in downtown Phoenix and I drove by the Biomed Campus that had the [Arizona State University] and [University of Arizona] logo on the side of the building and I thought ‘that sounds like the way it should be.’ Where we just put everybody in one location [and] organize the program so everyone is collaborating to offer as many programs as we can get.”
The YMC will provide students with cutting-edge knowledge and significant educational opportunities.
According to Nicholls, the multiversity will expand the work of the state’s universities and colleges while also giving Yuma the ability to develop a culture of degree-earning and higher education.
“The vision is that the YMC…can expand on the incredible work and pace set by Arizona Western College and state universities to make higher education more accessible,” Nicholls said in a statement. “It will also create opportunities to strengthen the local industry, to bridge job creation in the area with accessibility to more academics, and ultimately to offer a better quality of life for Yumans.”
Nicholls and the City of Yuma received grants in the amounts of $50,000 from the Arizona Community Foundation’s Fund for Common Good grant and $50,000 from the Arizona Public Service Corporate Giving grant. In April, the inaugural YMC Board of Directors began planning the project.
“The Board of Directors have decided to go out and use that grant funding to bring on an executive director to help organize the different pieces that need to get organized [and] do the research in coalition building to move the project forward,” Nicholls said.
The money will not only fund the recruitment and hiring of the YMC Executive Director but also establishing an educational steering committee and community committee to work alongside the Executive Director and Board, and establish a nonprofit corporation that will ultimately own and operate the campus.
According to the City of Yuma, the YMC will provide the talent pool needed to attract businesses to Yuma and provide “much needed” employment in the region.
“This approach to higher education is indicative of the Yuma community,” Nicholls said. “Collaborating and building upon the strengths that currently exist to offer a future that is [richer] with opportunity. That’s just how our community grows and has grown over the last 100 plus years.”
The Board of Directors includes Arizona Western College President Daniel Corr; Gowan Company Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board Jon Jessen; Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Julie Engel; Yuma Regional Medical Center President and CEO Robert Trenschel; Yuma Center of Excellence in Desert Agriculture Executive Director Paul Brierley; JV Smith Companies’ Victor Smith; and Yuma County Supervisor Russell McCloud.