As the former president of the University of Pennsylvania, Judith Rodin understands first-hand the power of universities to impact surrounding neighborhoods and communities. In this Helen Edison presentation, Rodin explores their transformative potential.
“Over the last few decades, a host of anchor institutions have breathed new life into communities and they have forged new pathways for economic growth in their cities,” says Rodin.
As she explains when she became president at Penn State, “The blight of the local neighborhood became the plight of the university. Students didn’t feel safe, and parents didn’t feel safe sending them there.” At the time, crime rates had soared, many people lived below the poverty level, businesses closed, and drug dealers moved in. “We knew that we could never have a future as a truly great university in a disintegrating community in an economically weakening city,” says Rodin. “We needed to become a force for strengthening our community.”
Most importantly, she learned that “in the process of transforming the university and its surrounding neighborhoods, we demonstrated just what a powerful impact a university can have when it accepts that its destiny is intertwined with that of its neighbors.”
Learn more about how cities and universities can work together to build a strong and inclusive future. Watch Resilient Cities: A Conversation with Judith Rodin.