Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992, and is the author of Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier.
Jim Gray is the Mayor of Lexington, Ky., a vibrant university city of 310,000. Elected in 2010 and now in his second term, Mayor Gray has drawn upon his experience as the CEO of Gray Inc., an international engineering and construction firm, to bring an executive’s approach to government. Facing deficits as he took office, Gray led a reform of the city’s health care system and its police and fire pension system, saving more than $20M a year in a $300M budget.
The resulting surpluses have allowed the Mayor to invest in public safety and his vision for a new gathering place for Lexingtonians, the Town Branch Commons. Master-planned by the winner of Gray’s international design competition, the Commons will be a linear urban park that winds through the city’s booming downtown along the path of Lexington’s original water source, the Town Branch creek.
Wade O. Troxell is the Mayor of Fort Collins, Colorado. He was elected in April 2015 and re-elected in April 2017, now serving his second term as mayor. Wade is on the faculty and has served as the Associate Department Head, Mechanical Engineering, at Colorado State University. Mayor Troxell serves on the Platte River Power Authority Board of Directors, ChairNational League of Cities (NLC) Universities Communities Council (UCC), Executive Board – Colorado Municipal League, Chair – Northern Colorado Regional Airport Commission, City of Fort Collins/Colorado State University Leadership Committee, and Chair – City of Fort Collins Futures Committee.
Dr. Eli Capilouto became the 12th President of the University of Kentucky on July 1, 2011. Under his leadership, the $3.5 billion flagship and land grant research university has gained significant momentum in fulfilling its multi-faceted mission of teaching, research, service and health care.
Dr. Capilouto has led a process to enrich UK’s academic experience by investing in priorities that maintain affordability and access; support the institution’s talented faculty and staff; and revitalize the living, learning and research facilities across campus.
Chris Beutler was elected Mayor of Lincoln in May 2007 and re-elected in May 2011. He is a native Nebraskan, who has devoted the majority of his life to serving the City of Lincoln, the people of Nebraska and the nation.
Chris attended Yale University, served in the Peace Corps and the U.S. Army and has a JD from the University of Nebraska College of Law. After building, growing and selling Beutler Title Company, Chris served in the state legislature from 1978 to 1982, and again from 1990 to 2002.
As Mayor, Chris has focused on infrastructure and economic development, including championing the Lincoln Haymarket Arena development.
As Mayor Jim Gray’s Chief Innovation Officer, Scott Shapiro generates transformative projects that do not fall neatly within the standard method of city-service delivery.
A city-benchmarking project led Scott to discover a new species of city – the University City – and he writes and speaks frequently about the concept’s implications for Lexington, its peers, and aspiring University Cities. Scott also co-leads Lexington’s Gig project, which aims to bring a fiber-optic network with ultra-fast Internet speeds to the city. And he is launching the city’s first text-notification system, LexAlerts, providing advance notification to citizens regarding the impact of city services on a house-by-house level.
Dr. Kenneth R. Troske is the Associate Dean for graduate programs and outreach in the Gatton College of Business and Richard W. and Janis H. Furst Endowed Chair of Economics at the University of Kentucky as well as a Research Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany. Dr. Troske served as a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel whose task was to assess the existing condition of America’s financial markets and the regulatory system as well as to closely monitor the actions of the Treasury Department and financial institutions to determine if their actions are in the best interest of the American economy.
Omar Blaik is CEO of U3 Advisors. Omar founded U3 Ventures LLC, a predecessor of today’s firm, in 2006 with the belief that anchor institutions hold the key to sustainable community and economic development in many cities across the country. Omar leads the advisory and development efforts of U3 Advisors, working with university leaders, city and state governments, non-profit foundations, and real estate developers to provide expertise on institutional anchor strategy, campus edge planning, local economic development, and place-based real estate strategy.
Benjamin Kennedy is managing director of The Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Practice, while also serving as managing director of the foundation’s Detroit Program.
Benjamin’s leadership of the American Cities Practice and Detroit Program involve overseeing grantmaking and social investments aimed at helping Detroit and other American cities grapple with a wide array of socio-economic issues.
Prior to joining Kresge in 2009, Benjamin was with JPMorgan Chase in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was an associate on the firm’s mergers and acquisitions team.
Chantel M. Rush is a program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s American Cities Practice. Her grantmaking portfolio includes funding efforts to seed and scale innovative community development practices aimed at improving the lives of people with low incomes in America’s cities. Her grantmaking work also supports pioneering research, thought leadership and convenings to expand urban policymaking and practice. She also stewards the foundation’s place-based work in Memphis, Tennessee. Chantel joined the foundation in 2015, working as a special assistant to Kresge President and CEO Rip Rapson. Before joining Kresge, she served as senior analyst of global strategy and business development at Gap Inc.
Katie Appel Duda has been on the Government Innovation Team at Bloomberg Philanthropies since April 2010. Katie performed planning and policy work for the Department of Homeless Services while receiving undergraduate degrees in psychology and government from the University of Virginia. She received a master’s degree in public affairs with a focus in policy analysis from New York University in 2008. While in graduate school, Katie worked as the Assistant Communications Director to the Mayor of New York.
Post-industrial City. Metropolis. Border Town. Tourist Mecca. We like to classify our cities, giving them labels that signal what makes them tick, why they’re special.
Now, data suggest there’s another urban typology to add to the list: The University City. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “If you want to build a great city, create a great university and wait 200 years.”
Walk around Videon’s headquarters, and it’s easy to forget that you’re in a short, squat building in the back of an office park. Dogs run around the open workspace, filled with standing desks, funky stone tables and huge computer monitors. They’re an audiovisual technology company, so it make sense that they would want to show off their equipment.
This group, which he calls “university cities,” have distinct characteristics that make them different from smaller college towns or major cities with big research universities. And those characteristics translate into big economic development opportunities in the 21st century’s knowledge-based economy.