Lefton calls KSU “a leading business enterprise in northeast Ohio”

Jenna Staul

University commissions study to determine our economic mark.

Study says university adds

billions to regional income

The economic mark Kent State leaves on

Northeast Ohio can be measured in the billions,

according to a new university-commissioned


Kent State and its eight campuses generated

$1.96 billion in added income to Northeast

Ohio’s economy in 2007-2008, including

$292 million in added income related to its

business and research operations, according

to a year-long study by the Idaho-based firm

Economic Modeling Specialists.

President Lester Lefton unveiled the new

economic report yesterday to a room full

of alumni, university officials and business leaders, where he invited them to be “bowled

over by the university’s impact.”

“We are a leading business enterprise in

northeast Ohio,” Lefton said. “Everybody

knows about Kent State — we’re a nationally

recognized institution. That’s something not

always recognized in our community, which

was also part of the reason for conducting the


Economic Modeling Specialists, which

according to its Web site specializes in studying

regional labor markets, industries … and

educational attainment, was paid $49,000 by

the university to conduct the study, said Iris

Harvey, vice president of university relations.

“I think (the study) matters to students

because it shows they get a return on their

investment,” Harvey said. “Yes, education

pays them back.”

Lefton said a development agreement for

a downtown, Kent State-affiliated hotel and

conference center could be completed in the

next 120 days, adding, “right now we’re arging about whether the door knobs should be

brass or chrome.”

Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said the

tentative completion date for the hotel and

conference center is Fall 2012.

Lefton, who said the university acts as

a “convener between the city and private

developers,” has taken a particular interest

in spurring Kent’s economic growth through

the university since taking office in 2006.

“We’re trying to rejuvenate the economy

here,” he said. “Part of the task of a university

is influencing legislation and influencing the

public. And tax payers have a good right to

know what return they are getting on their


Contact administration reporter

Jenna Staul at [email protected].