SIU was recently designated an Innovation and Economic Prosperty University by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).
The designation lasts 10 years and SIU is one of 18 colleges to receive the distinction this year. There are 48 universities and colleges in the nation with the designation.
According to the organization, the program recognizes public and private sector partners “to support economic development through a variety of activities including innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and workforce development, and community development.”
According to James S. Allen, associate provost for academic programs, who led the 20-member steering committee that collaborated on the application over an 18-month period, APLU recognizes “our special role in Southern Illinois with its profound economic problems where unemployment and outsourcing have been devastating to the local economy,” he said, adding in that community service, including economic development, health and social services and outreach efforts are key components in the university’s mission.
The university's Office of Economic and Regional Development (OERD) helped 57 businesses in the region start or expand their companies, worked and 529 clients, and provided more than 3,500 business consulting hours in 2014. The Small Business Development Center assisted in packaging more than $7.8 million in financing to these clients.