Hobart and William Smith Colleges were recently named to the Honor Roll of the “Best Neighbor” colleges and universities by Dr. Evan S. Dobelle, President of Westfield State College, during a presentation, “Saviors of Our Cities: A Survey of Best College and University Civic Partnerships.” The Honor Roll category included only 100 national institutions “That have figured prominently in lengthy cooperative efforts with community leaders to rehabilitate the cities around them, using their money and expertise to further the projects.”
“Colleges and universities, as well as the towns and cities in which they are located, are now under severe economic pressures. The positive financial impact of higher education on local communities is well-documented,” said Dobelle, appearing before the 15th annual conference of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), in Philadelphia. “Colleges and universities are doing more and more to support their local communities and it is a win-win situation for both.”
Among the institutions in the Honor Roll category are Boston University; Brigham Young University; Columbia University; Franklin & Marshall College; Georgetown University; Johns Hopkins University and Tufts University.
Dobelle ranked 25 institutions as among the best neighbors, with the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California tied for number one. The Saviors of Our Cities rankings and Honor Roll are composed of academic institutions diverse in size, geography and course offerings. They have demonstrated and documented long-standing cooperative efforts with community leaders to rehabilitate the cities around them, to influence community revitalization and cultural renewal, and to encourage economic expansion of the local economy, urban development and community service.
The first Saviors of Our Cities survey was published by Dobelle in 2006, when he was president of the New England Board of Higher Education, one of the four federally authorized regional consortiums of colleges in America. His re-examination of the 2006 rankings was prompted in part by the change in the United States economy and the desire to track the evolution and growing sophistication of efforts by institutions of higher learning to save their cities from increasing blight. The survey of colleges and universities is an outcome of more than 20 years of professional experience and ongoing research, and included a questionnaire and discussion. A comprehensive questionnaire was widely distributed to colleges and universities with assistance from the American Council on Education (ACE) and Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU).