Posted: August 7, 1996

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Ralph W. Knapp was selected today as president of the soon-to-be consolidated Southwestern Technical College and Worthington Community College.

His appointment was recommended by Chancellor Judith Eaton of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and approved by the MnSCU Board of Trustees.

"Ralph Knapp will provide strong leadership as the colleges unite to better serve the citizens of southwestern Minnesota," said Chancellor Judith Eaton. "He is the ideal person to help the consolidated college develop its full potential and build new partnerships in the years ahead."

Knapp will assume his new position on January 1, 1997, the day when the consolidation of the two colleges takes effect.

He has served as president of Southwestern Technical College since 1991, providing leadership for the college's campuses in Canby, Granite Falls, Jackson and Pipestone. He was president of the Pipestone campus from 1984 to 1991 and was responsible for its extension classes during 1983-84. He was an instructor/supervisor in the college's Supermarket Management Program from 1967 to 1983.

Knapp owned a travel agency from 1988 to 1991 and a supermarket from 1978 to 1987. He also has experience as a market analyst for Super Valu Stores, a supermarket manager and a supermarket meat department manager.

He is a member of the MnSCU Presidential Advisory Committee, a group of eight college and university presidents who advise the chancellor and the Board of Trustees.

Knapp serves on the Governor's Workforce Development Council and the Southwest Minnesota Workforce Development Council. He previously served on the Pipestone City Council and the board of the Lake Shetek Area Improvement Association, which he created and organized.

He is a candidate for a Ph.D. in business administration at California Coast University, from which he holds a master's degree in business administration. He received a bachelor's degree in sales and marketing from Mankato State University.

The impending consolidation is part of a plan designed to enhance educational offerings and reduce administrative costs for Southwestern Technical College, Worthington Community College and Southwest State University.

Connie Burchill, president of Worthington Community College, did not pursue the presidency of the consolidated college.

Southwestern Technical College and Worthington Community College, with a combined enrollment of more than 3,400 students, are member institutions of MnSCU, the statewide system of community colleges, technical colleges and state universities. MnSCU serves more than 151,000 students at 38 institutions in 46 communities around the state.