Minnesota State University Moorhead GRIT Program Recognized with Devinder Malhotra Equity Award

Posted: June 18, 2024

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@MinnState.edu, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL, Minn., June 18, 2024 – The Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has selected the GRIT Program at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) to be recognized with the inaugural Devinder Malhotra Equity Award. The award honors the achievements of collaborative partnerships that promote student success and close achievement gaps supporting the Minnesota State Equity 2030 imperative.

MSUM’s GRIT Program was created as a pilot program in Fall 2019 to help conditionally admitted students experience a successful transition into college and support them through their first two semesters at MSUM.  While these students don’t meet the university’s automatic admission criteria, this program provides conditional admission and addresses potential barriers to success.

The GRIT Program allows students to learn the best success strategies and insights at the beginning of their college careers. Through intentional mentoring and coaching, students develop Growth, Resilience, Initiative, and Transformation (GRIT).

The program is designed to enhance access and student success, particularly for students of color, Pell-eligible, and first-generation students. Recent fall cohorts for students participating in the GRIT Program have shown increased fall-to-spring retention compared to the campus-wide rates for those students.

“The GRIT program is a great example of the many initiatives throughout our 26 colleges and seven universities that are making a real difference in the lives of students,” said Scott Olson, chancellor of Minnesota State.  “I’m proud to honor this program today because the team at MSUM has done outstanding work implementing a variety of supports that will help underserved students be successful and make progress towards their educational goals.”

The Devinder Malhotra Equity Award was established by the Board of Trustees to honor the service of Devinder Malhotra who served as chancellor or interim chancellor of Minnesota State from 2017 until his retirement in 2023. Under Malhotra’s leadership, Minnesota State launched Equity 2030, a key strategic initiative that set a critical goal of eliminating educational equity gaps, including by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and first-generation status at every Minnesota State college and university by the year 2030.


Minnesota State includes 26 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 300,000 students. It is the third-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.