In reading the recent ADN commentaries by Charles Wohlforth, I realized how many dreams were destroyed by lack of vision in this state concerning the University of Alaska. The most significant losses were the opportunity to develop intellectual and economic opportunity and ultimately to help the state grow and retain many more talented students in the community.
The impact of educational institutions on development and continued vision is very clear, as demonstrated by urban institutions such as the University of Washington, which is a major driver of economic growth, creating prosperity and innovation in communities throughout Washington state. The University of Washington’s economic impact exceeds $15 billion per year. World-renowned education and research programs are provided at the Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses.
But perhaps even more important has been the long-term contributions to new ideas generated in the state that have had major economic and personal growth of its citizens. Of course, this is only one of the many fine universities throughout the state of Washington. Many people come to Alaska for economic opportunity, but often leave once they have had success and return “home.” Opportunity for Alaska can only change when new arrivals come with a lifetime commitment to improve the lives of everyone in this state.
Clearly, the need to work together and create new opportunities in a high-tech world requires great educational opportunities with a true visionary focus.
— John M. Kennish
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