The Colgate Scene
May 2004

Clinton addresses upstate issues

[Photo by Timothy D. Sofranko]

Colgate's Upstate Institute can serve as a "conveyor and clearinghouse of new ideas" that could help revitalize the upstate New York economy, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said during the first conference hosted by the institute in early April.

Clinton met with nearly 70 regional academic, business, and civic leaders and then addressed more than 2,000 people at Cotterell Court.

The Upstate Institute was launched last December to serve as a resource for organizations and individuals seeking regional expertise or information about upstate New York. Clinton said that the institute is a "timely commitment" to the region and an example of the cooperation between the public and private sectors that is needed for the region to thrive.

The senator noted that the large number of upstate colleges and universities provides a distinct advantage for the region. Students who come from around the nation and from around the world to attend upstate schools have so much to offer, she said. Keeping them here after graduation is a critical component to building a "creative class" that will infuse the region with energy and provide a skilled work force for the 21st century.

Clinton cited the Partnership for Community Development, a collaboration between the university and the town and village of Hamilton, as a good example of a "shared vision" that is working for the benefit of the area, and noted that the Hamilton Initiative, a for-profit limited liability company formed by the university, has purchased and restored commercial properties in Hamilton while keeping them on the tax rolls.

Preventing "brain drain" was one of the issues discussed during the roundtable discussions held earlier in the day, said Jane Pinchin, director of the institute. She said that providing internships for students after graduation would keep them in the area for several years, offering real benefits for the students themselves as well as for the businesses, schools, and nonprofit groups that might employ them.

There was a good exchange of ideas among the university presidents and civic and business leaders at the conference, said Patrick J. Doyle '90, director of the Greater Binghamton Coalition, an economic development group, who helped lead the discussions.

The participants also discussed ways to turn research conducted at area universities into spinoff businesses producing new jobs, and how to better use the Internet and the latest technologies for selling locally made products in the global marketplace. Those taking part included presidents and senior administrators from Colgate, Binghamton, and Clarkson universities; Hamilton, Hartwick, LeMoyne, Union, Utica, and Wells colleges; several SUNY institutions including Cortland, Morrisville, Oneonta, Institute of Technology, and Upstate Medical University; Jefferson, Mohawk Valley, and Onondaga community colleges, and the Central New York Community Foundations, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, Madison County Office of the Aging, and Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute.

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