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APLU Designates U of M an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University

For release: October 23, 2013
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey / 901-678-2843

In recognition of a strong commitment to regional economic engagement, the University of Memphis has achieved designation as an Innovation & Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

The new designation acknowledges universities working with public and private sector partners to support economic development through a variety of activities, including innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and workforce development, and community development.

The U of M is a finalist for an additional award to be announced at the APLU national meeting on Nov. 12.

"The link between public universities and the economic well-being of their regional and state economies is undeniable," says U of M Provost David Rudd. "The link between the city of Memphis and the University of Memphis is multifaceted and indispensable. This designation recognizes that critical link, along with the creativity and hard work of countless faculty, staff, students and city employees."

Applicants for the new Innovation & Economic Prosperity University designation conducted a self-study that included input from external stakeholders. The U of M is intentionally and systematically aligning its instruction, research and outreach to current and emerging economic drivers in the region. As evidenced in three case studies identifying the strengths of its partnerships (Strengthening Communities, the FedEx Institute of Technology and the Memphis Research Consortium), the U of M is creating new forms of connections that enable innovation in economic development.

Applicants also identified areas for growth and improvement for their university's economic engagement enterprise and developed an improvement plan. This work demonstrated a commitment to continuous learning and improvement in this area of work vital to universities and their regional partners.

Other universities comprising the inaugural class of Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities are: Boise State, California State Fresno, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, State University of New York, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Toledo and Washington State.

"We're helping to provide tools to universities to help them become even more economically engaged with their communities, which is a core value of public institutions," APLU President Peter McPherson said. "Universities are economic engines that not only directly employ people, but also generate research-based innovation and technical expertise that allow businesses to start up, grow and thrive. This designation recognizes universities that are really stepping up to strengthen their local economy."

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization representing 219 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and related organizations. Founded in 1887, APLU is the nation's oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories. Annually, member campuses enroll more than 3.8 million undergraduates and 1.2 million graduate students, award more than 1 million degrees, employ nearly 1 million faculty and staff, and conduct more than $37 billion in university-based research.


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