University Economic Development Association

University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Selects Finalists for 2017 Awards of Excellence

Finalists, Representing Leading Economic Development Initiatives Across North America, Will Compete at Annual Summit this October


LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA – August 9, 2017 – The 2017 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 help accelerate these programs by recognizing cutting edge initiatives, and to promote their adoption by other universities and communities. Program categories include: Innovation, Talent, and Place, as well as the intersections of these three categories.

“I am very excited by the variety and level of creativity in our 2017 Awards of Excellence finalists.” said Ed Morrison, chair of the UEDA Awards of Excellence committee. “It’s inspiring to see so many innovative projects being implemented around the country. It is through participation in UEDA’s Awards of Excellence Program that the success of these initiatives can be recognized and brought to a wider audience and replicated in other locations.”

Those attending UEDA’s Annual Summit (#UEDASummit), taking place October 1-4, 2017, in Long Beach, California will judge the Awards finalists to select a leading initiative in each category. Criterion for judging includes initiative replicability, scalability, sustainability, impact, and originality. The Awards are the cornerstone program of the UEDA Annual Summit, whose program features best practices in economic development.

The 2017 UEDA Awards of Excellence finalists in each category are as follows (in no particular order):


  • California State University, Long Beach: Innovation Challenge
  • University of Georgia: Innovation Gateway
  • Lehigh University: Lehigh-KEEN Initiative
  • New Jersey Innovation Institute: New Jersey Innovation Institute

Innovation + Talent

  • Duquesne University MBA Sustainable Business Practices Program: Sustainable Business Practices Consulting Curriculum
  • Indiana University East: BOSS, Business Opportunities for Self-Starters
  • Interise: StreetWise ‘MBA’™
  • Western Governors University: WGU’s Responsible Borrowing Initiatives

Talent + Place

  • University of Alaska: University of Alaska: Fisheries, Seafood and Maritime Initiative – Maritime Works
  • California State Univeristy, Northridge: MyPlate the Musical: A program to increase nutrition and physical activity knowledge and behavior in elementary schools to combat childhood obesity
  • California State University, Northridge: 3 WINS Fitness
  • Northern Illinois University: NIU Engineering @ RVC


  • University of Georgia: Archway Partnership
  • Selkirk College: Regional Workforce Development in Rural British Columbia, Canada
  • University of Tennessee: Asset Based Planning in Rural Tennessee Counties
  • University of Georgia: A Tale of Two Cities: How Sea Grant Helped Tybee Island and St. Marys to Save Money While Saving Lives

Place + Innovation

  • University of Alaska Center for Economic Development: Launch Alaska
  • University of Nevada, Reno: Propelling a University-Driven Innovation Ecosystem
  • University of South Florida: USF Tampa Bay Technology Incubator
  • University of West Florida: Sustainable Economic Development Initiative


  • California State University, Long Beach: The Long Beach College Promise
  • California State University, Long Beach: Community Scholars
  • Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education: Gap Analysis Reporting
  • Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development – EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI): Women Who Weld

“It has never been more important for higher education institutions to think more holistically about the alignment of their institution’s core mission activities with regional economic development goals,” said Tim Hindes, UEDA Executive Director. “These finalists represent model programs that are creating measurable and sustainable results in their respective communities.”

The theme of this year’s Summit is “Delivering the Future: Higher Education’s Role in an Ever-Changing World.” Combining its connection to global commerce with one of the largest sea ports in the world—along with elected officials whose governance is focused on the local community—Long Beach is an exemplification of American citizens adopting a globalized mentality, while continuing to prioritize their community. This is a must-attend for those interested in top economic development programs, students looking for career paths, investors, university representatives and professionals engaged in developing regional innovation clusters.

This year’s summit agenda includes such topics as Creating Neighborhood Developers for Economically Distressed Areas; Leveraging Higher Education Resources to Serve and Strengthen Community Partnerships; Building Innovation Ecosystems from the Inside Out: Lessons from 50 Universities; Maximizing Growth through Cluster-Oriented Incubators and Accelerators: A Focus on Inclusivity; Entrepreneurial Mindset Development: What it is and why it is important?; Peer to Peer: The Power of Student Innovation; and much more. Keynote speakers include Bill Allen, Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development; Tom White, Executive Director, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator; and  Jim Davis, Vice Provost, Information Technology & Chief Academic Technology Officer, UCLA Office of Information Technology.

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.