In the business world, companies often seek partnerships that help advance their mission, strategic initiatives, and success.
When it comes to public institutions, like Shawnee State University, these types of partnerships are more than just desirable — they are a critical part of who we are, where we are going, and our ability to meet the needs of the citizens who live and work in our community.
Shawnee State University exists because local and state government representatives, regional business and community leaders, and parents understood the impact that a college education has on society. Leaders such as Speaker Vern Riffe and Governor James A. Rhodes led efforts toward making college accessible to all in our region and brought shape to our open access mission more than 30 years ago.
Since then, Shawnee State has evolved with the changing needs of Ohio — and we continue to advance through unique partnerships.
Just this month, we announced a gift from the AEP Foundation to help further our Innovation Accelerator project, providing space and equipment for Shawnee State students, local businesses and community members to work together on business ventures. The Innovation Accelerator is one part of a larger Kricker Innovation Center to be located downtown through the support of city and state government, economic development agencies, and donors.
Other areas of campus have benefitted by recent partnerships, too. Thanks to alumni and industry leaders in our Plastics Engineering Technology program, we recently added equipment – and even a robot – to our labs, giving our graduates an advantage in the job market. We are currently working with our regional healthcare providers to address the growing demand for nurses in our region, agencies in our arts community to enhance cultural opportunities for our residents, and community colleges and career and technical centers to help students find the right path toward their career goals.
These are just a few out of dozens of collaborations occurring in all areas of our “business” — from academics to student life to community engagement. I wish there was sufficient space to name them all – and all who have supported our growth from the beginning — but the examples are endless. Our entire community has a stake in the success of Shawnee State University and we’re fortunate to have so many partners working toward the same goals. Through the donation of time, expertise, and resources, they allow us to keep moving forward — together.
As we take steps toward shaping Shawnee State for the next generation, I want to take a moment to thank all who have gone before, all those helping us today, and all those who will come in the future.