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DC Chamber of Commerce Policy Forum: How Washington, DC Universities Shape Our Economy

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Published on Mar 8, 2012

George Washington University President Steven Knapp joined four of his D.C. counterparts Wednesday to discuss their institutions' role in the District and how they can work together to continue to benefit the city.

The panel discussion, moderated by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, featured Dr. Knapp along with Jerry Ice, president and CEO of Graduate School USA; Sidney Ribeau, president of Howard University; Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University; and Allen Sessoms, president of the University of the District of Columbia. The D.C. Chamber of Commerce hosted the two-hour event at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Opening the discussion, Mayor Gray gave each president the chance to respond to those who believe that universities should be taxed by the city. Such a prospect, the panelists agreed, would threaten their institution's ability to create programs and initiatives that benefit the city as much as or more than tax revenue would.

Dr. Knapp detailed a number of relationships the university has with city schools, like School Without Walls and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. GW centers, like the Institute of Public Policy, have contributed research to the city, such as how its economic situation would change if it became a state. And students contribute an estimated 150,000 hours of service per year—a value of about $5 million to the city, Dr. Knapp said.

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