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CenterState’s Simpson discusses role of higher education in regional economy

By Journal Staff


HERKIMER — The Herkimer County College Foundation hosted several business, government, and campus leaders for an Executive Breakfast presentation at Herkimer County Community College (HCCC) on Thursday, March 1. 

The presenter was Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, executive director of the Central Upstate Regional Alliance and president of Syracuse’s business incubator, The Tech Garden. He previously served as president and CEO of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York (MDA). Simpson was a driving force behind the creation of CenterState CEO, which resulted from the 2010 merger of the MDA and the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. At his appearance in Herkimer, Simpson discussed the importance of higher education, partnerships, and collaboration in promoting effective regional economic development. 

Simpson said, “Put simply, higher education is as important as any industrial sector we have. It is, and will remain, one of the single most important drivers of growth in our region.” 

The purpose of the Herkimer County College Foundation’s Executive Breakfast program is to bring together educational, business, government, and other community leaders for presentations and discussions on a variety of issues. 

The Herkimer County College Foundation, Inc., was established in 1967 as a not-for-profit corporation. The foundation assists HCCC through the acquisition of private funds and real property. The foundation has developed more than 90 scholarship programs that award more than $150,000 annually to many deserving students. It has been instrumental in the acquisition of land for future campus expansion and the development of student housing adjacent to the campus. In conjunction with the HCCC Alumni Association, grants are awarded each year to faculty and staff for ongoing professional development and independent research. The foundation also invests in other college programs, such as instructional technology, graduation activities and awards events. 

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