COLLEGE PRESIDENTS SHARE THEIR VIEWS
Fulfilling Lives Through Education
There is a bustle of activity on our central quadrangle as nearly 17,000 students prepare for the rigorous and fulfilling semester ahead. Although summer is a busy time at Brooklyn College, I welcome the sense of excitement and renewal that accompanies the beginning of the new academic year.
With nearly 600,000 students enrolled in its 110 colleges and universities, New York has more students than any other city in the country. Not only do our city’s campuses provide energy and vitality to our communities, they have a tremendous impact on our economy. In New York City alone, higher education employs more than 110,000 people — nearly 2.5% of its total workforce.
The same holds true statewide. In 2009, direct and indirect spending in higher education provided 495,000 jobs and generated $62.2 billion in economic activity across the state. Investments in research and innovation on our campuses foster additional growth in our economy. There is no doubt that, for New York, higher education is a critical industry.
The entertainment industry is equally important to our local economy, supporting 4,000 businesses, employing 100,000 people, and contributing $5 billion annually. Brooklyn College is an important pipeline for this workforce in many ways. Building on our strengths in film, television, music, theater, and business, we recently announced plans to establish a graduate school of cinema at Steiner Studios, which has the largest soundstage and production facilities on the East Coast. It will be the nation’s only graduate school of cinema located on a working film lot and, with projected tuition one third that of comparable programs at private universities, an affordable option for students with the talent and drive to succeed.
Innovative programs that have strong connections to industry partners and fuel growing sectors of our economy are an essential component of higher education for the twenty-first century. Our proposed graduate programs in cinema are a compelling example of such partnerships as are many undergraduate and graduate programs across all five schools on our campus.
It is important to remember, however, that the positive attributes of higher education go well beyond workforce development and economic impact. An education of the highest quality prepares students to lead fulfilling lives and make strong contributions to their communities. As we celebrate the beginning of a new academic year, this is my greatest wish for all of the students in our city. #