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Morgan touts economic impact as STEM efforts grow

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The report also found that Morgan State beats state and national averages for investment in technology commercialization per $10 million of research expenditures. But those results come with just $15 million invested compared to a state average of $1.3 billion at research institutions. (Submitted photo)

Morgan State University has a nearly $1 billion economic impact on Maryland including more than $500 million impact on Baltimore, a university commissioned study found.

The results of the study come as the historically black college has pushed over the past couple of years to reinforce its reputation as a go-to school for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“Morgan has long understood the role it must play in Maryland’s future success,” Morgan State President David Wilson said in a statement. “The findings revealed in this report are enlightening and significant in their proof of Morgan’s importance to the continued growth of the state’s economy, and they further illustrate how investment in this university yields a measurable and impactful return.”

Last year, the General Assembly and Gov. Larry Hogan named Morgan State Maryland’s preeminent public urban research university.

Nearly 17 percent of Morgan State graduates are employed in STEM fields, the report found. The rest of the state averages 10 percent.

A lot of Morgan’s success in the STEM fields comes from its students and the university’s geographic location near a lot of federal and business hotbeds with a need for students from these fields, said Hongtao Yu, the university’s Dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences.

“This strategic location of Morgan State that’s so close to all of these federal agencies and to the big industry partners, that is the advantage over many other schools who don’t have what Morgan has,” he said.

Yu also added enrollment in the university’s sciences degrees has increased for the past four years, an indication that the school’s output of STEM graduates can only grow.

The school has made an equal effort to support those students, spending more money to make more quality hires, putting more money into research, and spending on the capital projects needed to support the sciences college, including a new building in the planning stages.

The report also found that Morgan State beats state and national averages for investment in technology commercialization per $10 million of research expenditures. But those results come with just $15 million invested compared to a state average of $1.3 billion at research institutions.

Those results come as the university is just ramping up its tech commercialization practices. In 2016, the university received its first U.S. patent. It also recently completed its first technology licensing agreement.

So while initial investments have given strong returns, the university has plans to ramp up its tech commercialization investments, which it expects to return greater investment to the city and the state.

“While Morgan’s innovation program is in its nascent years, it is seeing tangible spinoff activity and outcomes that are grounded in public service,” the report said. “Morgan’s research efforts are growing and will continue to do so with continued investment. They are effectively producing more innovation outcomes than the state and national averages — producing spinoffs and businesses that address public needs and spur economic activity.”

The study also found that 70 percent of alumni in the U.S. able to be contacted live in Maryland, and 28 percent of them live in the city. Morgan State alumni working in Maryland earn an aggregate of $464 million per year as a result of their degree.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the General Assembly’s designation of Morgan State University. It was named the state’s preeminent public urban research university.


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