Scholarship in Action and the Syracuse Miracle
Edited by Bruce Kingma
Chapter 3: Tapping Our Fountain of Youth: The Guiding Philosophy and First Report on the Syracuse Student Startup Accelerator
Michael Anthony D’Eredita and Sean Branagan, with Nasir Ali Upstate New York is a landscape dotted with diverse academic institutions: small, highly ranked liberal arts colleges; large private institutions; mid-sized state college campuses; and expanding community colleges. In the center of Upstate, there are around 30 institutions within a 90-mile radius of Syracuse, New York, collectively bringing to the region more than 150,000 students from September to May. Considering Upstate having a western border of Buffalo and an eastern border of Albany, these numbers increase to approximately 206 institutions, giving the region the highest number of colleges per capita in the U.S. (Pendal et al., 2004). This translates to more than 500,000 students – nearly a 15 percent increase in the total population and a 10 percent drop in the average age of the region during the academic school year (Pendal et al., 2004). In essence, Upstate New York can be considered a regional version of a ‘college town’. Few sustained economic growth benefits have resulted from this yearly influx of youth, talent and energy, however. The region is characterized more by rust and flight than by vibrancy and creativity, defying what is normally suggested by such a large college-age population. In a 2006 New York Times article entitled Flight of Young Adults Is Causing Alarm in Upstate, Robert G. Wilmers, chairman of M & T Bank in Buffalo quoted from a shareholder letter: ‘The magnitude and duration of population loss among the young is unprecedented in our history. There...
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