Presidents Of Arizona's State Universities Embrace New Economy Initiative

By Jimmy Jenkins
Published: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 8:32am
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 3:25pm

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The presidents of Arizona
Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ
The presidents of Arizona's state university speak at a forum in Phoenix on Arizona's economy on Feb. 6, 2020.

The presidents of Arizona’s state universities addressed the role of higher education in workforce development at a Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce event on Thursday.

Arizona State University President Michael Crow joined Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng and University of Arizona President Robert Robbins for a forum at the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix.

Crow said Gov. Doug Ducey has charged the universities with helping Arizona’s economy adapt and grow. “All systems will be replaced," Crow said. "All technologies will be replaced. All things are moving to higher and higher levels of computational systems, informational systems — all new knowledge-based things.”

Crow said Arizona could no longer rely on population growth alone to advance the economy.

Crow announced the university will be building the largest engineering school in the world, combining the current Fulton schools of engineering into one school.

Crow said ASU would "grow a 25,000 student on-campus engineering school with 15,000 students online doing more research than Georgia Tech.”

UA President Robert Robbins said the universities need to take advantage of partnerships with industry leaders in fields like mining and aerospace.

“There’s actually requests in through the budget funding of a new wind tunnel for hypersonics at the U of A in partnership with Raytheon,” Robbins said.

NAU President Rita Cheng said their institutions were focusing on growing the diversity of their campuses and working to build relationships that serve rural communities.

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