University receives development award

By Northern Star Staff

NIU has received an award for economic development.

The Association for Public and Land-grant Universities announced NIU as the winner of the association’s inaugural “Place” award for “excelling in community, social and cultural development work” Tuesday. Three other universities also received an economic prosperity award.

“Engagement with our communities and regions has always been the defining characteristic of America’s top public universities,” said NIU President Doug Baker, according to NIUToday. “To be held up as one of the best in this endeavor, in the company of some of our country’s finest institutions, is a tremendous honor.”

The award application described how the institution serves a region that is simultaneously urban, suburban and rural, and how it forges public and private partnerships that benefit all parties.

The application is anchored by three case studies: NIU’s decade-long effort to bring high-speed broadband connectivity to the region, focus on the Center for P-20 Engagement and NIU’s engagement efforts in Rockford.

“In all three of these case studies, what we see is a commitment to innovation,” said Lisa Freeman, vice president of Research and Graduate Studies and interim provost, according to NIUToday.