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GCU’s growth capturing attention of Arizona State University officials

(Facebook photos)

PHOENIX — Grand Canyon University is moving closer to regaining its non-profit status, and that’s getting the attention of Arizona State University.

ASU President Michael Crow took more than 100 of his administrators on a field trip to GCU on Monday. They toured the campus and talked about ways the two universities can work together now that GCU is seeking to return to non-profit status.

In a statement sent to KTAR News 92.3 FM, Crow said the higher education landscape in the Phoenix metropolitan area continues to evolve with ASU emerging as a major, international research institution and GCU emerging as a nonprofit Christian college.

“As each of us evolves, we see opportunities to work together across a spectrum of activities in academics and athletics. What we’re most interested in is working together to ensure the success of the community more broadly,” Crow said.

The Higher Learning Commission approved in March a request by GCU to revert to nonprofit status, which was the biggest hurdle the university had to pass in its quest to convert from a publicly traded for-profit to a nonprofit.

A month later, the Religion News Service reported GCU was now the largest Christian university in the country, with more than 19,000 students on campus and about 70,000 taking online classes.

“Arizona needs more high-quality college graduates, and we recognize the role GCU plays in contributing to our graduate pool and strengthening the Phoenix metropolitan area overall,” Crow said.

Meanwhile, GCU President Brian Mueller said in a statement sent to KTAR News 92.3 FM that he welcomed the opportunity to meet and work with ASU’s leadership team.

“Our combined energies, working together, will be a very positive thing for the Valley and state going forward as we expand educational opportunities and build a workforce that will help grow the economy and attract more companies and jobs to this area,” Mueller said.

A few months ago, Mueller met with University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Robbins and he has a good relationship with Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng.

“That spirit of cooperation, really from all four major universities in Arizona, is a tremendous opportunity to create prosperity throughout the state,” Mueller said.

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