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Serving the Greater Good: Duquesne University to Share Examples that Anchor Communities

Traditionally, communities look to higher education institutions as contributing research and intellectual property. But Dr. Alan W. Seadler, associate academic vice president of research at Duquesne University, will discuss nontraditional ways that higher education institutions can work with neighboring disadvantaged communities.

On Thursday, May 24, at a conference sponsored by the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing urban neighborhoods, Seadler will serve as a panelist discussingLeveraging Your Assets-The Role of Anchor Institutions at the 1:45 p.m. session at the William Penn Hotel.

"We generally think of universities as fostering technology transfer, generating startup companies and sharing different intellectual aspects with communities," Seadler said. "We don't think in terms of buying power or in terms of what services we can offer communities."

Seadler will discuss nontraditional contributions of Duquesne, such as:

  • Starting the Center for Pharmacy Services, the community pharmacy that filled a 10-year void in health care in the neighboring Hill District
  • Sending hundreds of students into neighborhoods to strategize with community partners and complete service-learning projects
  • Exploring how best to tap the buying power of the University and other institutions to benefit local startups, linking them into a wider service and supply chain.

"How can we be creative as institutions?" Seadler asked. "How can anchor institutions like Duquesne help to develop neighboring underserved communities?"

Five years ago, Duquesne invested in economic development by spearheading, with the Hill House Economic Development Corp., the creation of the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone (PCKIZ). The PCKIZ has leveraged knowledge from its university partners into new technologies, particularly in the Hill District and Uptown, assisting 40 new and young companies. It has grown into Urban Innovation 21, an economic development program that encompasses a larger geographic area.

From success with the PCKIZ to service-learning initiatives, "It shows that a mid-sized research university can have a very positive impact on its neighboring communities," Seadler said.

Seadler will serve on a panel with Patrick Phillips, CEO of the Urban Land Institute; Angela Mingo, director of community relations for Nationwide Children's Hospital; and Mariann Geyer, vice president of external affairs at Point Park University.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.