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Malloy's $1.5 billion UConn investment gains support

By Michael McGuigan
On February 18, 2013

  • UConn’s Board of Trustees Chairman Lewis Rome supports Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal to invest $1.5 billion into the university. Science, technology, engineering and math related fields are expected to see an increase in student enrollment. ROBERT WILSON/The Daily Campus

On Jan. 31, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy unveiled his Connecticut Next Generation initiative, which proposes to invest nearly 1.5 billion dollars into the University of Connecticut.
"Connecticut used to lead the world when it came to innovation-we had more patents, more groundbreaking discoveries than anywhere else in the world. Somewhere along the way the world caught up. This is about to change," said Malloy.
Malloy's proposal plans to change this by providing 137 million dollars in state funds to increase enrollment by 30 percent at UConn, which will add 6580 new students to the University. The number of new students at the Storrs campus would be about 5000 with about 1500 attending UConn Stamford, according to Stephanie Reitz a university spokeswoman. Of these about 3300 students would be in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields, which will increase the number of STEM students at UConn by 47 percent, according to the governor's office. The proposal also calls for increasing the number of engineering students at UConn by 70 percent, according to the Governor's office.
The proposal would add 259 new faculty members to the University in addition to the 290 joining UConn as a part of the current hiring plan, according to the Governor's office. 200 new faculty members would be in STEM related fields according to the Governor's proposal in addition to the 175 new STEM faculty being added as part of UConn's current hiring plan,
A focal point of Malloy's proposal is the creation of a STEM honors program at UConn. This would be the premier STEM honors program in the nation, and center on a new learning community, according to the Governor's office.
Besides these things the proposal calls for "$1.54 billion in bonding to construct new STEM facilities, build out teaching and research labs, upgrade information technology, and renovate and build additional housing and parking," Reitz said.
"By targeting state resources to our flagship university we ensure that our young people have the skills they need to fill the jobs we are so aggressively pursuing. Make no mistake, we are making Connecticut competitive again," Malloy said.
In early Feb. UConn President Susan Herbst went before the Appropriations committee to testify about the Governor's Connecticut Next Generation Initiative.
"You may be wondering, with such a large state deficit, is this the appropriate time for the type of initiative represented by Next Generation CT? I believe that the answer is an emphatic "YES." Just as the Research Triangle in North Carolina has allowed that region to thrive despite economic downturns, this initiative will create a more prosperous, economically dynamic Connecticut", said Herbst. The initiative will create a more prosperous Connecticut by providing 146 million a year in new research expenditures and 285 million per year in new business activity resulting from research at UConn, said Herbst.
Lewis Rome, the Chairman of the UConn Board of Trustees from 1992 -1997 and a graduate of UConn from the class of 1954, expressed his support of the Governor's proposal.
"I can't comment in a more positive way than just go for it," Rome said of the proposal.
Rome reflected on the evolution of UConn saying, "Current changes are a response to current needs and future needs. If we stop looking ahead we will be the group that pulled the carpet over our heads. "I think we're moving in the right direction and I've thought that for some time," said Rome about the expansion of the University of the past several decades. Rome further reflected that UConn "is a good University made great" as a result of the continued investment by the State of Connecticut in it.
"This initiative will fuel Connecticut's economy with new technologies and companies, patents, licenses, and high-wage STEM jobs. UConn will be not just a great place to get an education, but will be a driver of job creation and economic growth now and for generations to come," Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said.    

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