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Colleges are key players in cities’ bids to host Amazon’s 2nd headquarters

Excerpt

The following is from the Jan. 19, 2018, edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education. SMU President R. Gerald Turner was interviewed for this story.

Pres. Turner's Comment:

"Dallas is a global city ripe with opportunities for research partnerships, mentoring and internships – value added for countless students and faculty members at Dallas universities. It’s particularly true at SMU, where we are a hub for talent. We connect the dots between every discipline we teach with innovation and business acumen. SMU’s investment in one of the nation’s most powerful academic supercomputers is aimed at dramatically expanding our research and supporting federally funded research partnerships with community and business. To add Amazon’s reach, resources and leadership to our real-world classroom would be like capturing lightning in a bottle, and our students are primed to take advantage of it."

January 19, 2018

 By Emma Kerr

Since Amazon narrowed its list of potential locations for a second headquarters on Thursday from over 200 qualifying regions to just 20 finalists, colleges in those lucky cities have become more hopeful that they might reap the benefits if the huge company comes to town.

The new headquarters, to join Amazon’s first, in Seattle, will create an estimated 50,000 high-paying jobs in the city it selects, according to the online retailer.

While higher-education institutions see the opportunities a nearby headquarters could bring their students and alumni, the prospective deal may be mutually beneficial to Amazon and the city’s nearby institutions. The universities and colleges near each finalist may sway Amazon’s headquarters selection. And Amazon said in a statement it is looking for a place with “the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.” Among the finalists with multiple large, highly ranked institutions are Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

Colleges hoping to draw the retail giant to their town are quick to highlight their technological achievements. Southern Methodist University’s president, R. Gerald Turner, cited his institution’s work on an academic supercomputer in Dallas, a finalist.

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