A POWERHOUSE... INTELLECTURALLY, CULTURALLY, ECONOMICALLY
September 13, 2009
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher positively and enthusiastically stated "By working in an inclusive and collaborative way, we can succeed in making SUNY the finest system of higher education in the nation and a model for the world." And Chancellor Zimpher is correct in her assessment, SUNY has the great potential to become just that. SUNY is a cultural and economic powerhouse: exemplar in teaching, creative in research, unique in development with a powerful economic impact on the State and the Nation. The University is particularly noted for its innovative teaching protocols, dynamic relevant research, imaginative developmental strategies, and initiatives in community service. SUNY is fast becoming a model world class institution of higher education par excellence second to none.
Vitally essential in our communities are our educational institutions, both public and private, at all levels of the educational setting. There is no question, that our schools and institutions of higher learning play a most significant role in the health and vitality of every community. And the State University of New York is one such institution which plays such a significant role in the total vibrancy of the State and the broad spectrum of the intellectual, cultural, and economic community.
The State University of New York (SUNY) has grown to include sixty-four academic institutions that include everything from the highest of quality undergraduate programs to top rated graduate schools and fields. The System's highly regarded degree granting universities can boast of top research programs which attract experts from around the world. Our own State University at Fredonia is no exception, with the array of eminent distinguished experts on staff.
SUNY has expanded to include more than 439,000 students enrolled in approximately 7000 programs. It is the largest public university in the Unites States and one of the largest in the entire world. More students are enrolled in the SUNY System today than ever before. The SAT scores of our entering freshman class having increased dramatically. Point in fact, the SAT scores of the current freshman classes are at the HIGHEST LEVEL EVER. The State University of New York is dedicated to the highest level of academic and culture excellence. Clearly, there is no doubt but that the economic, cultural and social impact of the University is a highly significant and relevant component to the health, vitality and vibrancy of our State and in each of the respective localized host regions.
The SUNY institutions are often among the largest employers in their host communities, employing over 100,000 faculty, researchers and staff statewide. Of the 439,000 students who are working toward an associate, baccalaureate, master or doctorial degrees, it is possible that their education can promise individually a million dollars or more in earnings over the course of their career. And as these individuals live, earn and invest in our communities, they too then add significantly to the economic dynamic of that area.
In addition to the magnitude of the cultural vibrancy the University contributes to society, the University, in its vast variety of campuses across the State, serves as a valued source of stability economically. It functions as a powerful engine whose research operations serve as an important stimulus, creating new companies, new jobs, and attracting millions of research dollars to the region. The University plays a major role as an important economic stimulant for the State and for the various regions; and is likely to increase as the University expands and broadens its research efforts in a host of new business, professional, cultural and scientific disciplines. The development of a high tech incubator initiative at SUNY Fredonia is a strategic prime example for economic revitalization and entrepreneurship development. As we see it, the University, and the State has a relationship that is like a marriage. The University's potential for success is fundamentally intertwined with the success and prosperity of the State, as is the State with the University. To wit, the economic impact of the State University speaks for itself. For every state dollar received, SUNY generates $8 in total spending in NYS. The 2008-2009 all-funds budget of $10,703 billion, which includes $3,695 billion in state support, equals an estimated $29.6 billion total economic impact. An investment in the University is an investment many times over in the future well being of the State and current and future generations of its citizens.
Cleary, the University affects the economic well being of its neighbors, from drawing new consumers to the region in the form of students and visitors, to being the largest private employer in many of the host area locations, to being a major consumer of goods and services. The University generates thousands of jobs by directly employing workers and indirectly through construction, purchasing, and through the economic multiplier effect. Economically, additional jobs are generated through student and visitor spending and through the activities of companies based on University technologies or those that were started by University faculty or graduates. In so many ways, the University serves as the areas' core economic engine. In other words, often the University becomes the magnet which draws in other companies, explores emerging possibilities, and serves as an attraction for future initiatives. And thus, it has a magnetic pull of attraction for folks individually or collectively and is often central to playing a vital role in anchoring and enhancing the host area's local economy and quality of life.
In a society in which efficient production and competent management are of paramount importance, being economically competitive is synonymous with being educationally current. R. Rosan wrote in 2002 "few institutions have more to offer in propelling economic development on both a national and local basis than our nation's colleges and universities. They are the creators and disseminators of knowledge. As leading institutions in their communities, they are powerful economic drivers, technology centers, employers, developers and investors." Cleary, the strength of the economy relies on intellect and knowledge. Every business needs ideas, innovations, and creativity. These are the things associated with a good university. Tapan Monroe, an economist for California said, "Like steel and auto manufacturing during the 1900's, it is the universities which fuel the cultural setting and the economic engines of the current century." And it was Benjamin Disraeli who wisely stated "Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends." The State University of New York is just such a powerhouse of culture and an engine of energy and ingenuity. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.