University Economic Development Association

UEDA Selects Finalists for 2018 Awards of Excellence

UEDA Selects Finalists for 2018 Awards of Excellence


Finalists, Representing Leading Economic Development Initiatives Across North America, to Present at Annual Summit

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – August 2, 2018 – The 2018 UEDA Awards of Excellence finalists have been chosen following an extremely close competition this year. Higher education institutions and organizations across North America submit nominations annually for innovative programs that focus on developing economic prosperity in their communities and beyond. A panel of university and economic development professionals have chosen 24 finalists from the group of nominated projects.

The UEDA Awards are designed to validate and promote these programs, and to encourage their adoption by other institutions and communities. Program categories include: Innovation, Talent, and Place, as well as the intersections of these three categories.

“This year’s group of submissions showcase the value higher education provides to impact sustainable regional development” said Julia Potter, chair of the UEDA Awards of Excellence committee. “It’s energizing to see so many diverse and successful programs benefiting communities around the country. It is through participation in UEDA’s Awards of Excellence Program that the success of these initiatives can be given a platform to share their successes and inspire others to apply these best practices in other locations.”

Participants attending UEDA’s Annual Summit (#UEDASummit), taking place October 21-24, 2018, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will judge the Awards finalists to select a leading initiative in each category. Criterion for judging includes  replicability, scalability, sustainability, impact, and originality.

The 2018 UEDA Awards of Excellence finalists in each category are as follows (in no particular order):


  • University of Wisconsin System: Ideadvance Lean Start Up–Generating Warp Speed Effectiveness for Entrepreneurship Initiatives: The Power of Public-Private Partnerships
  • Marquette University: Marquette University Explorer Challenge
  • University of Georgia: Cultivar Development Research Program
Innovation + Talent
  • California State University, Northridge: Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition, and Dietetics: Peer Mentorship Program to Promote Diversity within the Nutrition and Dietetics Profession
  • California State University, Northridge: CSUN Summer Accelerator
  • Elon University: Comprehensive Digital Records for the 21st Century Workplace
  • Rutgers University: The Center for Urban for Urban Entrepreneuship Economic Development (CUEED)
Talent + Place
  • Montana State University’s Montana Manufacturing Extension Center:
    Manufacturing Sector Growth, Photonics Cluster Growth, and Entrepreneur Success Initiatives
  • Southern University and A & M College: Creating Neighborhood Developers Program
  • University of Georgia: Georgia Certified Economic Developer Program
  • University of Alabama: Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program
  • University of Idaho: MOSS – McCall Outdoor Science School
  • University of Tennessee: Asset Based Planning in Rural Tennessee Counties
  • University of Georgia: UGA Archway Partnership Addresses Health Care Needs in Rural Georgia
  • Kansas State University: North Campus Corridor Industry Co-location Development
  • University of Northern Iowa: Advance Iowa
Place + Innovation
  • University of West Florida: Sustainable Economic Development Initiative
  • University of Iowa: Iowa City Area Development Group / University of Iowa
  • University of Central Florida: Economic Diversity and Inclusivity
  • Pittsburg State University: Block 22
  • University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point: Sentry Insurance Cooperative Initiative
  • Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance (New Era): Internship Draft Day
  • California State University, Fresno: The Valley Industry Partnership for Cooperative Education (VIP) Program
  • Bowling Green State University: BGSU Hometown Internship Program

“These days it is critically important for higher education institutions to be more prepared for disruptions in their regional economies and respond in line with their regional economic development goals,” said Tim Hindes, UEDA Executive Director. “These finalists are the very top programs from across North America, generating impactful and sustainable results in the regions in which they are engaged.”

The theme of this year’s Summit is “Disruptive Economic Development: Higher Education Ecosystems as Engines of Change.” Higher education is poised to serve as a leader in disruptive economic development–fostering cultures of innovation, creativity, design thinking, and entrepreneurship. While higher education institutions play a critical role in any economic ecosystem, in a disruptive environment their importance only expands.

The UEDA Annual Summit is a must-attend for those interested in top economic development programs, students looking for career paths, investors, higher education representatives and professionals engaged in developing regional innovation clusters.

In keeping with our theme, we are delighted to have Dr. Joseph E. Aoun, President of Northeastern University, as our Monday Keynote speaker. Dr. Aoun is the author of Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, in which he confronts head-on the need for colleges and universities to meet the challenge—and indeed the opportunity—presented by smart machines.

Complete summit details are at
To register go to

About UEDA
Established in 1976, the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) is the cornerstone membership organization representing higher education, private sector and community economic development stakeholders. UEDA works to expand economic opportunity in our communities by leveraging research, community resources, campus planning, talent development, and technology commercialization.  UEDA’s mission is to serve its members by enhancing members’ abilities to deliver economic development benefits through engagement with higher education.