Enriching the economy through higher education

By Kyle Hobstetter on June 20, 2018

TU hosts Highlighting Economic Development and Higher Education in Maryland luncheon

President Kim Schatzel
Towson University President Kim Schatzel speaks during Wednesday's Highlighting Economic Development and Higher Education networking luncheon, hosted by the Maryland Economic Development Association. 

Through its BTU Partnerships and programs like the Together Towson initiative, Towson University has supported economic growth in both the region and the state.

That’s why TU was the perfect host for the Maryland Economic Development Association’s (MEDA) Highlighting Economic Development and Higher Education in Maryland networking luncheon on Tuesday at the Chesapeake Rooms inside the University Union.

Partnering with the University System of Maryland (USM) and Leadership Maryland, the event helped to showcase the positive work that Maryland colleges and universities are doing for the state’s economy.

“I think what’s important is for people to learn how crucial our higher education facilities are to economic development in our communities,” said Kim Clark, President of MEDA. “I think today really brought that out, and helped educate some people on the importance of Towson University to the state of Maryland.”

Towson University and its relationship to Towson was one of the key reasons for bringing the luncheon to campus, according to Tom Sadowski, USM’s Vice Chancellor for Economic Development.

When helping to plan the event, Sadowski said that TU was the perfect example of how USM’s campuses are doing tremendous things throughout Maryland to help bolster the state’s economy, especially where those campuses reside.

“(At USM schools) we produce some the best and brightest minds our world knows today,” he said. “But we’re also doing things in the community to help lead economic development initiatives.

“This is an opportunity to impart some of the great things President (Kim) Schatzel and her team are doing in the Towson community to help take the university forward and help partner with industry to help grow Maryland’s economy.”

Towson University President Kim Schatzel was one of the event’s presenters. In her presentation, she spoke about how TU continues to provide talent to Maryland’s workforce. This includes the fact that one in three Maryland teachers, one in five Maryland health professionals, and one in 10 Maryland business leaders are TU grads.

She also spoke about how she is using statistics like those to help change TU’s perception. “People talk about the Towson University of the 1970s, I want them to talk about the Towson University of today. We want to show people that TU matters to Maryland in all that we do.”

Other presenters included Kelly Schulz, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and Michael Gill, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Commerce.

Gill has a strong relationship with TU, graduating with a B.S. in business administration in 1974, along with being awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1996. That strong relationship continues as he spoke glowingly about TU’s continued growth — which included being designated as a qualified institution under the Maryland Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) program, which paves the way for TU to seek an official RISE Zone designation.

Talking about TU’s growth, Gill said he was reminded of something President Schatzel told him during the luncheon — in the middle of all good things for Towson, there is the university.

“It’s not dissimilar to other places in the country where we think of the universities when we think of them,” Gill said. “What’s really happening is those entire communities have continued to blossom, with the university having been the center for all the great things going on.”

This is the second time MEDA has hosted the Highlighting Economic Development and Higher Education in Maryland luncheon, with the first event happening last August at Frostburg State University.  

According to Clark, there has been growing interest in the topic because the state’s higher education institutions have become so important to economic and community development. She’s hoping that through these networking sessions program speakers, those in attendance can learn more ways to portray that message when working in the community.

“We at MEDA like to say that economic development transforms lives,” Clark said. “And I think that’s what our higher education institutions are doing now — particularly Towson University. Enriching communities, creating opportunities and inspiring innovation — that’s what TU is doing.”

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland, BTU-Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore.