seal  President Jischke Speech

July 10, 2003

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke made these remarks on Thursday (7/10) during the Land Grant University Summer Meeting.

Land-grant universities have pivotal role to play in nation's economic future

Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to join you today.

I am certain your meetings are going to be exciting and productive. You have as a theme one of the most important issues in higher education today – "Economic Development and New Business Ventures: The Role of Land Grant Universities."

The role of land-grant universities is absolutely pivotal in the economic development of our states. Throughout the nation today, states are looking at declining revenues, deficits and budget cuts as the economic slowdown continues.

This comes at the same time higher education is facing increasing costs, increasing competition for top faculty and staff, and increasing pressures to hold down tuition and fees.

Land-grant universities were created for the purposes of serving our states and the people.

Our need has never been greater. I believe today we are at a transforming moment – a time when we can shape a new future for land-grant universities in the 21st century.

It is a very exciting time for all of us.

In 1996 the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities was created by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges – NASULGC. The purpose of this was to define the direction public universities should go in the future and to recommend an action agenda to speed up the process of change.

I was fortunate to be named to the commission.

We quickly identified five issues for the commission members to examine: the student experience, access and opportunity, the engaged institution, the learning society and campus culture.

I served as chair of the engaged institution committee. Each committee issued a written report. The response to all of this was very interesting.

The engagement report, titled "Returning To Our Roots, The Engaged Institution," was far and away the most popular. More copies of it were distributed than all the other reports combined.

I think there were several reasons for this large interest in engagement.

First, there are many people who believe that our nation's research universities have lost touch with the communities they exist to serve. There is a perception that despite the resources and expertise available on our campuses, we have not been bringing them to bear on local problems in a coherent way.

Secondly, a lot of people have begun to understand that engagement is crucial to fulfilling not only our outreach mission, but also our educational and research missions as well. There is increasingly a view that experiential learning is very powerful. It enhances learning and develops skills that are difficult to teach in the classroom. Engagement is a marvelous vehicle for creating experiential learning opportunities for students.

And finally – as the research agenda of this nation has shifted from Cold War national defense issues to issues of the economy – engaging the community has taken on increased significance. Economic development research has caused universities to rethink their relationship with communities.

I was recruited to Purdue in the fall of 2000 by our board of trustees with a charge to oversee taking the university to the next level of excellence.

To accomplish that, we needed strategies and plans.

After a year of widescale discussion, our board adopted detailed strategic plans for Purdue-West Lafayette and all of our campuses. And engagement with communities and our state, especially in the key area of economic development, is one of the central focuses of our plans.

In fact, it is a focus that runs throughout our plans, finding ways that we take what we do on our campus and turn it into jobs and a better quality of life for the people of our state.

Our plans have created a vision of preeminence, world leadership. Our agenda includes using our preeminence to help this state, which forms the foundation of our support.

Purdue is a university that is on the move. And a great deal of what we are doing is focused on Indiana.

In the 19th and 20th centuries and continuing today, land-grant university learning, discovery, and engagement helped revolutionized agriculture by applying modern science to the farm. In the 20th century, land-grant universities helped launch this nation's manufacturing industry, which today remains the foundation of our economy.

Now we have reached the 21st century. And today land-grant universities must use their missions for learning, discovery and engagement to help communities and states build a high-technology economy. Today’s new global economy is being driven by science and technology.

States and regions that have most effectively developed this economy have succeeded by partnering with major research universities. They have succeeded by investing in discovery tied to the needs and strengths of the region.

We are all ideally situated to help our states succeed.

One of the most exciting initiatives we have launched is our new Discovery Park, which you will see later today.

In Discovery Park, with its $100 million initial investment, we are bringing together the brightest minds in a diverse range of disciplines. We are building this park starting with a $5 million investment from the state of Indiana. That money has been leveraged to raise the rest through private donations and grants.

The largest facility in Discovery Park, at 187,000 square feet, is our Birck Nanotechnology Center. The cost is $55.4 million and we broke ground this summer.

Nanotechnology is an emerging science in which new materials and tiny structures are built atom-by-atom or molecule-by-molecule.

The possibilities include: a technology in which biology and electronics are merged, creating "gene chips" that instantly detect food-borne contamination, dangerous substances in the blood or chemical warfare agents in the air.

The possibilities include creation of entirely new materials with superior strength, electrical conductivity and resistance to heat.

In Discovery Park we are also building a $15 million Bindley Bioscience Center. Construction begins this summer.

The Bindley Bioscience Center will support interdisciplinary research initiatives between engineering and the life sciences. The center will focus on the development and application of new techniques for proteomics analysis, cellular imaging and tissue engineering.

Breakthroughs in proteomics research are leading to the development of new tools for diagnostics and therapeutics. Research in tissue engineering is resulting in an array of products to replace or regenerate damaged body tissues.

A third Discovery Park Center will focus on e-Enterprise. Our $10 million e-Enterprise Center will pull together many related new-technology activities on the Purdue campus.

This center will have a special focus on three core areas where Purdue has, or can develop, national leadership: First – network security and reliability. Second – management of distributed e-enterprise, including database systems. Third – logistics and distribution of products and marketing of e-enterprise.

Finally, we are coupling all our research in Discovery Park with a fourth component – the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. The purpose of this center is to foster the development of ideas into new businesses and industries for Indiana. We have already broken ground on this $7 million center.

Our research can attract businesses and industries that might relocate here to be close to Discovery Park. And it can lead to discoveries that will be spun off into companies that will help develop Indiana's economy.

Some of these companies might end up in our Purdue Research Park, which you will also visit.

At our Research Park we have created 150,000 square feet of incubation and graduate facility space, making our technology centers the largest in the United States.

Nationally, companies located in businesses incubators have more than twice the survival rate of freestanding ventures.

At Purdue, our results have been even better. And that is good news for Indiana.

Another of our initiatives in economic development for Indiana is the expansion of our biomedical engineering program to the undergraduate level.

U.S. Department of Labor estimates 31.4 percent more biomedical engineers will be needed by 2010 – less than seven years away. This is double the rate for all other jobs combined.

This new Purdue program will supply Indiana medical device and biotechnology companies with engineers who will develop leading-edge technologies.

Purdue will be a research center to attract and foster new business. An expanded faculty base will tap into growing federal research dollars at the National Institutes of Health.

Let me give you one example of what can happen through our work in this area.

Leslie Geddes, Purdue's Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Bioengineering, led a research team that developed a new technology for taking blood pressure in premature newborns.

Every year in the United States, more than 300,000 babies are born with low birthweight. Low birthweight and very low birthweight babies account for two-thirds of newborn deaths.

Monitoring the blood pressure of these small babies is vital to their treatment.

Geddes and his team developed a life-saving, non-invasive device that measures blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation in prematurely born and other low birthweight babies.

Earlier this year, our research foundation established a partnership with an Indiana company to further develop and market this Purdue technology. It is moving our research from labs to hospitals throughout the nation and world.

This will benefit patients. And this will benefit Indiana through the creation of jobs and revenue for our state.

The key to the future lies in these partnerships between the public and private sectors and land-grant universities that form the backbone of progress in our states.

Our states need us to do this work. At the same time, it is essential to our future.

Without question, public universities in the 21st century will be what has been called "hybrids" — drawing financial support from a variety of sources.

Private fund raising is already the key to moving forward on our college campuses. And this will only increase in the years ahead. At the same time, we cannot continue without state support. It is the basis for everything we do.

In fact, we need support from our state to accomplish our private fund-raising goals.

Economic development for our states impacts the ability of legislatures to continue funding the needs of higher education. I do not see any future in universities and legislatures working at odds with one another — blaming one another for the problems of our times.

I see the future in universities and legislatures working together for common goals.

We can succeed - together.

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