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NSU graduates first class of former Presentation College students

With the closure of Presentation College last school year, students have to find their paths forward. Now, some of those students have walked the graduation stage across town.

With the two institutions teach-out agreement, some Presentation students hopped across Aberdeen to Northern State University to complete their degrees.

NSU chief enrollment officer Marcus Garstecki said the school graduated six former Presentation students in this commencement.

“Of course, with Northern being right here in Aberdeen – two miles away from PC campus – it was a natural fit to have a teach-out agreement,” Garstecki said.

In total, 21 students made the jump across town.

“It’s been really good for most of the students," Garstecki said. "I think one thing that was very interesting was most of those 21 students were not from the Aberdeen area or even from South Dakota. So, they had been here in Aberdeen for a couple years, obviously they felt very at home here in Aberdeen – very comfortable here – because they didn’t want to leave the community.”

Despite the additions to student headcount, Garstecki said the community lost something with the closure of Presentation.

“One of Presentation College’s hallmark programs was nursing," Garstecki said. "Without having that nursing program here in Aberdeen and to serve the entire northeast South Dakota region, Northern has stepped forward and we started perusing a nursing degree and we will actually launch that degree in the fall of 2025.”

According to Northern, university closures have a serious effect on the likelihood of graduation for re-enrollees, with only 36 percent of students earning degrees post-closure.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture