TU ready to RISE

By Sean Welsh on June 13, 2018

Towson University was recently designated as a qualified institution under the Maryland Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) program

Aerial view of TU and Towson

With the support of the Baltimore County executive, the Maryland Department of Commerce recently designated Towson University as a qualified institution under the Maryland Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) program, paving the way for TU to seek an official RISE Zone designation as a campus targeted for increased economic and community development.

The RISE Zone program was established by the state to leverage the economic development potential of Maryland’s higher education institutions. 

“Towson University is a significant economic driver of a knowledge-based economy for Towson, the county and greater Baltimore,” said Towson University President Kim Schatzel. “The designation as a qualified institution is an important step toward advancing the university’s connectedness and impact throughout the region. 

TU’s $1.8 billion annual economic impact, including $150 million generated by the TU Incubator, makes us a sought-after partner for established businesses and start-ups alike. If approved, a RISE Zone designation will help position Greater Towson as a leader in technological innovation, entrepreneurship and a knowledge-based economy.” 

Receiving approval as a RISE Zone qualified institution  is another milestone of Together Towson, a university initiative designed to strengthen and support connections between TU and the Towson community that drives economic growth and a vibrant neighborhood. With Towson University’s location in the county seat, the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz submitted a letter of support on behalf of the county in support of the TU’s application. 

“Towson University is an important partner in Baltimore County’s economic vitality, adding jobs, supporting entrepreneurship, and educating our workforce,” said Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler. “When secured, a RISE Zone designation has the potential to multiply that impact in downtown Towson.”      

The RISE Zone program identifies geographical areas with close ties to institutions of higher education or non-profits affiliated with federal agencies. The program recognizes institutions that have demonstrated history of commitment to economic development and revitalization in the communities in which they are located. 

Qualified institutions and local governments develop a targeted strategy to attract businesses and create jobs within the zone. With TU’s designation as a qualified institution secured, TU will develop a detailed map, comprehensive strategy, and perform public outreach as part of the effort to become Maryland’s fourth active RISE Zone. 

The university is in the midst of developing a $180M complex for the Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics. The expansive complex will open in 2020. This summer, TU will begin the overhaul of the University Union, which will open in 2021 as the new central point on campus.

If granted, a RISE Zone designation is in effect for five years, with a possible additional five-year renewal.

Other RISE Zones in Maryland include three other University System of Maryland (USM) institutions: The University of Maryland Baltimore, University of Maryland College Park and UMBC.


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 and Strategic Plan Alignment.