University Economic Development Association

University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Selects Finalists for 2019 Awards of Excellence

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

RENO, NEVADA – August 6, 2019 – The 2019 UEDA Awards of Excellence finalists have been chosen from a group of highly impactful and creative programs and initiatives. 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 20 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.

“Participation in UEDA’s Awards of Excellence Program has shown that when these unique and innovative initiatives are given a wider audience to share their successes, they spur further engagement and inspire other professionals and institutions to introduce these best practices in their home regions,” said Margo Fliss, chair of the UEDA Awards of Excellence committee.

Participants attending UEDA’s Annual Summit (#UEDASummit), taking place September 29 – October 2, 2019, in Reno-Tahoe, Nevada will judge the Awards finalists to select a leading initiative in each category. Criterion for judging includes replicability, scalability, sustainability, impact, and originality.

The 2019 UEDA Awards of Excellence finalists in each category are as follows (in no particular order):


University of Georgia’s New Materials Institute – Partnering for Sustainable Growth

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – NCGrowth

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Pacific Business Center Program – Hau’ula Community Resilience Model Village

Innovation + Talent:

University of Houston – SURE-Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship

Western Carolina University – Outdoor Recreation as an Economic and Community Engagement Catalyst in Western North Carolina

University of North Alabama – Institute Fellows

University of Wisconsin System – Smart Cities-Smart Futures: Building a Roadmap to a Future Where There Are No Roads


University of Idaho, Coeur d’Alene – Inspire Idaho

University of Georgia – UGA Fanning Institute Partnership Strengthens Schools through Student Engagement

Indiana University – East – BOSS (Business Opportunities for Self Starters)

Talent + Place:

Kansas State University – Regulatory Issues in Animal Health

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – M3: Harnessing the Power of Education for Talent Development

California State University Northridge and Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Scienece, Nutrition and Dietetics – CSUN Champions for Change: Growing a Healthy Community!


University of Kentucky – Lexington – Fayette Urban County Government – Economic Development Partnership.

Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement – Indiana University Rural Arts Program

University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government – Rising from the Ashes: A Downtown Master Plan Transforms a Community

Virginia Tech – Community Change Collaborative (CCC) of Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance

Place + Innovation:

University of Nevada, Reno – Nevada Center for Applied Research-Opening Doors for Innovation

The University of Texas at Dallas – The UT Dallas Intellectual Transit-Oriented Transformational Incubator (DITTI)

University of Alaska Anchorage – Center for Economic Development – Alaska Startups

“In today’s economic development environment, it is critically important for higher education institutions to be more engaged in their regional economies as partners with both government and business entities to lessen the impacts of economic disruptions and develop more resilience,” 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 “Designing Resilient Regions: The Biggest Little Ideas for ALL Ecosystems.” Resilience is emerging as a concept and a practice to help individuals, communities, cities, and regions not only withstand chronic and acute shocks but to emerge from them stronger and in a better place.  The idea of resilience is often deeply ingrained in individuals and their families and in immediate communities.  By focusing on real-world practices and collaborations between higher education institutions and their partners, the 2019 UEDA Summit will explore the topic and highlight manageable, scalable and impactful programs and projects that can be implemented by regions across the globe. Often the biggest little idea can grow to make a catalytic shift.

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 Terry Jones. Best known for founding and serving as founding Chairman of, Terry Jones has become a powerful voice in the world of entrepreneurship through his numerous speaking engagements and the publication of his book, ON Innovation. His career path has established him as a thought leader on innovation in our increasingly digital world.

In addition to Terry Jones, we are also pleased to have Dennis Alvord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs for the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Mr. Alvord directs and supervises the activities of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Office of Regional Affairs (ORA), which includes all six EDA Regional Offices, the Performance and National Programs Division, the Integrated Economic Development team, and the Regional Innovation Strategies program.

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.