Florida Atlantic University has an estimated economic impact of $4 billion annually in its six-county service region, according to a recently released sponsored project report to the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida. The study was led by Alan W. Hodges, Ph.D., at the University of Florida, and Julie Harrington, Ph.D., at Florida State University.
“Universities must be fully engaged in the lives of the communities they service, and FAU clearly fulfills this responsibility on many different levels,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. “Economic development, research and community engagement are three areas in which FAU is dedicated to and will continue to expand upon in the years to come.”
To put it into perspective, the $4 billion economic impact is the equivalent impact of 10 Super Bowls, 15 Oasis of the Seas cruises or seven Fort Lauderdale boat shows. The report also states that FAU has had a positive direct or indirect impact on 59,000 full-time and part-time jobs across the service region. According to the study, present value over a 30-year period of a bachelor’s degree from a state university in Florida is $550,000, while a graduate degree is worth $1.87 million.
FAU has focused on becoming a stronger engine of economic growth in South Florida most recently through a multi-faceted initiative to support existing and new businesses, particularly those in the high-tech sector. Intensifying the university’s focus on its economic development role is one of the key initiatives of the FAU Board of Trustees.
“The FAU Board of Trustees has a laser focus on ensuring that FAU is an integral part of the economic development of our service area,” said Board Chair Robert J. Stilley. “FAU is an impressive institution, and the impact it has on its service region will only increase in importance as it develops further in the areas of research and biotechnology.”
The advent of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine will play a major role in the University’s economic development, partnering with Scripps Research Institute of Florida. FAU and Scripps Florida have collaborated on a dual MD/PhD degree option that is offered by the FAU College of Medicine and the Scripps Kellogg School of Science and Technology. The program combines the unique preclinical and clinical training programs currently in place at FAU with basic and specialty science courses offered through the Scripps Kellogg School of Science and Technology, a school whose graduate programs in chemistry and biology are continually ranked among the top five in the nation. The M.D. degree will be awarded by FAU and the Ph.D. degree by Scripps Florida.
The opening of its 30,000-seat football stadium also had a major impact on the community, adding an estimated $1.7 million to the local economy. With more than 2,700 employees, including 1,500 faculty members, and an annual operating budget in excess of $600 million, FAU ranks as one of the largest employers in South Florida.
The University also is a charter member of Life Sciences South Florida, a regional consortium that also has established a life sciences industry cluster in South Florida. FAU also holds charter membership in MedUTech, an initiative that is focused on building the technology and healthcare sectors of Boca Raton’s economy.
FAU also has focused on increasing its outreach to local communities, recently creating the Division of Community Engagement to purse this goal. Rendering meaningful public service has long been a priority for the university. Every year, FAU students, faculty and staff contribute thousands of volunteer hours to nonprofit groups and civic organizations.
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