Arizona campus moves closer to reality; HU trustees name science hall for Dowdens

Huntington University President G. Blair Dowden, who plans to retire on May 31, and his wife Chris Dowden listen as university officials announce the naming of the Dowden Science Hall on the HU campus in their honor. Photo provided.

A Huntington University branch campus in Arizona moved a step closer to reality after winning approval from the HU Board of Trustees.

The board also approved the addition of a graduate level occupational therapy program.

And, as HU President G. Blair Dowden's service to the university winds down, university officials announced that the HU science hall will be named in honor of Dowden and his wife, Chris.

Now that the location of an HU campus in Peoria, AZ, has been approved by the board of trustees, the proposal goes before the Peoria City Council for its approval on May 7.

HU plans to offer programs in digital media arts, exercise science, nursing, ministry and missions, education and counseling psychology at the Peoria campus.

"Through this great initiative, we will be able to provide a Christ-centered, liberal arts education to more students than ever before," Dowden says.

Students enrolled at the Huntington campus would have the opportunity to study in Peoria for full semesters or for shorter term classes.

Trine University, of Angola, and St. Scholastica College, of Duluth, MN, also plan to offer degree programs in Peoria.

The occupational therapy program, which could open as early as the fall of 2014, will offer master's degrees and doctorates. The graduate programs will be located at the Life Science Education and Research Consortium of Northeast Indiana on the Parkview Randallia campus in Fort Wayne.

"Occupational therapy is an in-demand field which is expected to continue to grow in coming years," says Dr. Ann McPherren, senior vice president for strategy at HU.

More than 50 inquiries have been received from prospective students, she noted.

The naming of the Dowden Science Hall was announced Thursday, April 25, as Dowden completes 22 years as president of Huntington University.

"We will remember the two of you and will be forever grateful," said Dr. C. Ray Miller, former chair of the HU Board of Trustees.

The board also bestowed the titles of president emeritus and first lady emerita to the Dowdens.

The 91,000-square-foot science hall opened in 2002 and is home to the university's programs in nursing, mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, biology, pre-med and environmental science.
Dowden plans to retire on May 31.