A crowd of community members and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota potential and current students, as well as some staff members listened intently as two alumni shared their stories at the Apple Valley Center community open house on May 15.

Photo: Kim Lang ’14 speaks at Thursday’s event in Apple Valley

After Brother Robert Smith, FSC, vice president for Saint Mary’s Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, and Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland kicked off the 10-year celebration event, Kim Lang ’14 and Henry Cho ’06 took the podium and told their stories.

Lang was enrolled in college 25 years ago, but family and work pushed school to the wayside. After working her way up into a managerial position, Lang found herself without a job due to lay-offs during the 2010 economic crisis. It was then that she decided to go back to school, and she picked Saint Mary’s for its friendly atmosphere, quality instruction and location south of the river. Now, Lang looks forward to her June 1 graduation and her new career.

Cho’s story was equally as compelling. He credited Saint Mary’s University with giving him a desire for lifelong learning and the tools to lead and succeed. After completing a bachelor’s-degree completion program at Saint Mary’s, he worked his way up to the rank of sergeant in law enforcement. Today, his life has taken a new turn. For the past eight months Cho has opened and operated a Chik-fil-A franchise in Apple Valley, where he grew up. He was one of 25,000 applicants for 60 Chik-fil-A franchise spots.

“The two pieces that I learned from Saint Mary’s were becoming a lifelong learner and discovering that change is okay,” Cho said. “Change is going to happen; sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. There are valleys and peaks in your life. To get out of my comfort zone, it was difficult to make that jump as a young professional with a family. I made myself more marketable and learned lifelong lessons about seizing opportunity.”

Interested in taking courses at Saint Mary’s University and its Apple Valley location at 14200 Cedar Avenue? Visit the Apple Valley Center’s website  and get in touch with Apple Valley Center Counselor Cheryl Cox or one of our admission representatives.

The following Saint Mary’s programs are offered in Apple Valley:

Bachelor’s Degree Completion Programs

Master’s Degrees


Graduate Certificates


Specialist Degree

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