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Reach, Grasp (and Grasp), or What’s a University For?

— What’s a university for? Apparently in South Carolina, it’s to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce:

USC’s impact on economy grows

Study shows university provides $1.8 billion a year and adding jobs

Posted on Fri, Jan. 06, 2006

Since last measuring its impact on the state’s economy in 2000, USC estimates its impact has grown by nearly 30 percent and 2,000 jobs.

University leaders predicted Thursday that future growth, driven by the emerging research campus in the heart of Columbia, will dramatically eclipse the increase of the past five years.

Harris Pastides, USC’s vice president for research and health sciences, said recent investment and job creation resulted from the university “doing business as usual.”

“If we all do our jobs right, the top will be blown off” past economic growth, Pastides said.

The University of South Carolina in Columbia and its eight regional campuses contribute $1.8 billion annually to the state’s economy, and generates directly or indirectly more than 25,000 jobs, a new USC study states.

Innovista, the marketing name for the research campus [How campuses have survived until now without marketing names I’ll never know. —RJO], is expected to generate more than 1,900 jobs with an annual payroll of $129 million in its first phase. That’s an average annual salary of about $68,000.

The first phase of the research campus initiative will cost about $142 million to construct and comprise five buildings housing scientists from the university and the private sector.

University leaders Thursday signaled a growing sense of urgency to get the new laboratories and offices built—and to nail down high-profile corporate partners to help brand Innovista as an important venue for emerging research into alternative fuels, nanotechnology and health sciences.

Pastides declined to name whom the university is courting as keystone tenants. But he said the school is consumed with cementing a deal with “one big fish.”

Since students (very little fish) seem to be irrelevant to this picture, wouldn’t it have been simpler to just open a chain of casinos? I hear they’re quite profitable.

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