University of Great Falls Pivots to Health Care

June 14, 2017

The University of Great Falls in Montana is shifting to emphasize training for the health-care field and will be renamed the University of Providence at the beginning of July, following an investment by the multistate Providence St. Joseph Health system.

The Roman Catholic university will become the primary education provider for the Providence St. Joseph Health system, which has more than 110,000 employees and spans seven states. Officials envision a new School of Health Professions offering courses online and at satellite locations. Courses will include professional and certificate programs, with Providence St. Joseph Health employees receiving discounted tuition in many cases.

Currently, the university has an R.N. to B.S.N. nurse training program that is growing in popularity. It also plans to strengthen its School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The deal comes as the University of Great Falls faces sectorwide challenges, notably changing demographics and falling admissions. Providence St. Joseph Health needs to address demand for more educated employees.

The university's new name is also a reference to its founding by the Sisters of Providence. It currently has fewer than 1,000 students.

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