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IU Kokomo hosts regional meeting, seeks collaboration for regional growth

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Posted: Monday, May 21, 2012 4:19 pm

Indiana University Kokomo’s $52 million impact on the region will be the center of discussion and direction for future growth in north central Indiana during a town hall meeting to take place on campus this Wednesday.

Continuing its focus as a catalyst for change and regional transformation, campus officials will host the event to determine best practices for collaboration to move the region forward. The meeting is from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Kelley Student Center, Room 130.

Chancellor Michael Harris plans to use the results of a recent study, which revealed a $52.1 million impact by IU Kokomo on the state’s economy, to encourage leaders to work together.

This work reflects the campus theme embraced two years ago, of transforming the region, Harris said.

“This emphasis is reflected in our new strategic plan,” Harris said. “We have done much to support and be a catalyst for economic development. We are trail blazing a new role for regional campuses in the socioeconomic well-being of the region.”

Penny Lee, vice chancellor for public affairs and advancement, said it can be difficult for business, education, and government leaders to embrace the idea of working together in the best interests of the entire region, rather than focusing on their own concerns.

“The economic impact study will be the base for the discussion, asking ‘Where do we go from here, looking at the region’s economic future as a whole?’” Lee said. “We hope to identify specific goals we can pursue as a region.”

Harris said the campus’ role in transforming the region is not only providing education, but also serving as a common ground where new ideas can be considered.

“IU Kokomo serves as a convener, bringing people together to discuss the future of our region, and what roles we can play in that future,” Harris said. “We provide a place where members of the business community, our government leaders, and our educators, can meet and share knowledge and ideas, to plan for a future in abundance.”

William Stephan, vice president for engagement, will review the study, while representatives of Tripp Umbach, which conducted it, will present results.

The study measures direct economic impact through salaries, benefits, and spending by faculty, staff and students. It also studies indirect impact as those who sell goods and services to the university re-spend that revenue.

In addition, it measures the value of volunteer service and charitable donations by the campus’ faculty, staff, and students, which totaled more than $3.4 million. The campus also generates $2.7 million per year in state and local tax revenue.

Harris said as the predominant higher education resource in the region, IU Kokomo is positioned to play a significant role in the future.

“Most of our graduates live and work here after earning world-class degrees on our campus,” he said. “We are educating the innovators, business professionals, entrepreneurs, teachers and nurses who will be the leaders in the future.”

To attend the town hall meeting, contact Tonia Ray in the Office of Advancement at 765-455-9485, or tdray@iuk.edu.