The intangible benefits conferred by institutions of higher learning on the communities they serve are enormous and widely acknowledged. These range from the graduation of citizens committed to the life of the mind, to dissemination in society of the core values of fairness, integrity, and creative self-fashioning, to the enriching exposure to the fine arts and humanities.
A college or university contributes to the vitality and growth of its surrounding economy also in more tangible, quantifiable ways. In this respect, The City University of New York has performed outstanding service, helping to sustain the health of the economies of New York City and State with a total impact estimated at nearly $13 billion -- more than 10 times the size of CUNY's budget.
CUNY has for decades graduated leaders in professions and industries for which the New York metropolitan area is famed -- corporate executives, medical research scientists, engineers, systems analysts, investors, artists, media professionals, stage performers, advanced technological entrepreneurs, and advertising and accounting professionals.
But the heart of the University's contribution to our local economies is, as it has been for over 150 years, the provision of low-cost, high-quality education to every citizen who seeks it out.
The local return on this investment is high: fully 80% of CUNY's graduates continue to live and work in the metropolitan area. For every student turned away from CUNY because of inadequate resources, we put at risk a stream of dollars spent in New York, a career-long stream of taxes paid by our graduates, and, quite simply, another productive citizen and neighbor.
The City University student body, rich in talent, energy, and ambition, will produce a highly successful alumni workforce for the increasingly global economy of the 21st century. CUNY faculty and staff have initiated an impressive variety of college-based and multi-campus research consortia, local town-and-gown business development initiatives, and publicly and privately funded school-to-work programs that make the University a major player in the business, industrial, and research communities.
This document offers an overview of the University's wide-ranging, imaginative, and extraordinarily diverse programs and services designed to assure a thriving future for the economy. It includes a special focus on individual campus activities, college by college, sometimes overlooked in a highly complex metropolis served by multiple institutional interests. The work of all the colleges offers eloquent testimony to the overall impact of the University, work conducted on behalf of the people of New York City and State.
Christoph M. Kimmich
Contents of "Investing in New York's Future: The CUNY Portfolio"