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Center For Small Towns Announces Symposium Keynote Speakers

Posted by Center for Small Towns on Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2014

The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) will host the 2014 Symposium on Small Towns, “Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed,” June 4–5 on the Morris campus. Four keynote speakers will speak at the symposium, exploring the topics of rural migration and the reality of the rural narrative.

All of the speakers are accomplished in their fields of study and are excited to bring new perspectives of rural migration to Morris. Their talks and workshops take place throughout the two days. CST is eager to facilitate new and innovative dialogue between symposium participants and keynote speakers.

Ben Winchester and Randy Cantrell will be taking a deeper look at the rural demographic and migration trends that can be used to address the “doom-and-gloom” statistics of rural life. Winchester is trained as a rural sociologist and works as a research fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. Cantrell focuses on institutional change in rural areas, with a special emphasis on the role of the rural church. Rewriting the rural narrative is the central theme of the symposium, one Winchester and Cantrell will be able to talk about vividly.

Craig Schroeder, senior associate for the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, will talk about the youth voice and involvement in rural issues and the future of rural policy makers. Schroeder will draw on experience from his work in creating the Youth Attraction Formula, a tool for Great-Plains communities to address persistent population decline due to significant youth out-migration.

Jim Russell, geographer studying the relationship between migration and economic development, will be present on the “Age of Return Migration.” His keynote address will focus on shifting of the global economy and national migration patterns and the opportunities they creat. Russell is a former graduate trainee in the National Science Foundation-funded “Globalization and Democratization” program at the University of Colorado Boulder. He specializes in geopolitics, globalization, and international migration.

For more information on the symposium, go to,, or

The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, k-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize CST’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Its mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students.