The University of Maryland was honored for its contributions to the economic development of the community at the 2017 Innovation & Economic Prosperity (IEP) University Awards by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). As winner of the Economic Engagement Connections Award, IEP’s top prize, and the Place Award. UMD is the first two-time winner of the Connections Award, and the first institution to garner both a category award and the Connections Award in the same year. The award winners were announced at the the 2017 APLU Annual Meeting on Nov. 12, 2017.
UMD was recognized mainly for its Greater College Parkinitiative, a $2 billion public-private investment to rapidly revitalize the Baltimore Avenue corridor and academic campus, which includes dynamic academic spaces, a public-private research hub and vibrant downtown community. The Greater College Park initiative is the result of cooperative work among the City of College Park, Prince George’s County, the State of Maryland, private developers and the university.
UMD took the top honor, the Connections Award, which recognizes the institution that is doing the most to build connections across all categories of economic engagement — innovation and entrepreneurship, talent development, and social, community, and cultural development. UMD also won the Place Award, which focuses on universities excelling in community, social, and cultural development work, including launching the nation’s first ‘Do Good’ campus.
“Our close working relationship with College Park is helping us create a destination for research partners and families looking for a vibrant home,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “We are deeply gratified to receive this double honor. It validates our growing success.”
In 2015, UMD was also honored with the top-prize Connections Award, and was a finalist for the Talent Award for the university’s partnership with Northrop Grumman to build a talented pipeline of students in cybersecurity.
A key component of the partnership between UMD, the city and county is the College Park City-University Partnership. The partnership serves an important role in creating a sense of place, including a homeownership program that provides incentives for university and city employees who become homeowners in College Park; and a public charter school, the College Park Academy.
As part of the Greater College Park initiative, UMD debuted the Discovery District in 2017, encompassing more than 150 acres that stretch from Baltimore Avenue to the research-rich and metro-accessible community along River Road. Discovery District is the epicenter of academic, research and economic development as home to the research park formerly known as M Square, and features amenities like The Hotel at the University of Maryland and the The Art Walk. In addition, a new $2 billion Purple Line light rail system crossing the campus and Discovery District will link UMD and College Park to a set of economically diverse cities 10 miles to the east and west of campus.