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2 universities to launch campuses in metro Phoenix

PHOENIX -- Two Indiana-based schools are planning to open campuses in the West Valley.

Trine and Huntington universities will open next year in Peoria. Trine plans to start offering 12 undergraduate and three graduate degrees starting in January. Huntington said it will open in 2014 but is awaiting approval of the Peoria City Council.

Peoria City spokesman Bo Larsen said the council could vote next month.

Huntington issued a press release that described the school as a Christian liberal-arts college that offers "graduate and undergraduate degree programs in more than 70 academic concentrations."

Trine is set to hold classes in an office park at Thunderbird Road and 83rd Avenue.

Several universities have started offering classes in Mesa over the past few years, but Larsen insisted that Peoria isn't trying to "keep up with the Joneses."

He said when schools open anywhere in the Valley, it's a win-win situation for everyone.

"We were already going the same direction ourselves," said Larsen. "We've been in negotiations with the universities for a long time, but we've been very selective in making sure that the schools that do come to Peoria kind of meet where our goals are going."

Larsen said those goals include bringing "high-end, higher-paying jobs" to the city.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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