Minnesota State University, Mankato, also known as Minnesota State, is a public comprehensive university located in Mankato, Minnesota. The university sits atop the bluff of the Blue Earth River valley, approximately 75mi southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Founded as Mankato Normal School in 1868, it is the second oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. It is also the second largest public university in the state and has over 115,000 alumni worldwide. It is referred to as the flagship of the Minnesota State Universities and Colleges system. It is an important part of the economy of South-Central Minnesota as it adds more than $452 million to the economy of Minnesota annually.Minnesota State offers 140 undergraduate programs of study, 80 graduate programs and 4 doctoral programs. Students are served by 750 full-time faculty members creating a 21:1 student to faculty ratio. In addition to the main campus, it operates two satellite campuses: one in the Twin Cities suburb of Edina and the other in Owatonna. Through the College of Extended Learning it provides bachelor's degrees at the Normandale Partnership Center and programs online through an online campus.HistoryEarly yearsThe State Legislature recognized the need for an education center in southern Minnesota by 1860. In 1866 it authorized the development of a state run normal school and Mankato was selected for the site. Through the efforts of local attorney/state legislator Daniel Buck, the newly formed City of Mankato donated $5,000 and raised $5,000 in bonds for the founding of the second state normal school, Mankato Normal School. The first classes were held in 1868 with an enrollment of 27 students. The institution's original mission was to train and educate teachers for rural schools in southern Minnesota. During this early period, Mankato Normal School provided educational certificates and a majority of students were women. In relation to this focus on women's education, Mankato Normal School is noted as the first public college in the United States to be headed by a woman, suffragette Julia Sears, in 1872.