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August 31, 2006

CMU, Pitt rate as good neighbors

Pitt and Carnegie Mellon are among the nation’s 25 “best-neighbor” urban colleges and universities in a list released this month by Evan Dobelle, president of the New England Board of Higher Education.

Dobelle chose for his list institutions of higher education that “because of their strong positive contributions of careful strategic planning and thoughtful use of resources, have dramatically strengthened the economy and quality of life of their neighboring communities and have become ‘saviors of our cities.’”

Carnegie Mellon ranked 16th and Pitt 18th on Dobelle’s list. Pittsburgh was the only city on the list represented by two separate institutions.

The No. 1 spot went to UCLA, followed by the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Dayton.

According to Dobelle’s Aug. 26 editorial in the Boston Herald, “Many of these institutions, without huge endowments, have taken what could be considered a negative and turned it into a significant positive for the institution and their neighborhoods. I decided to put this broad range of institutions on an equal footing to recognize those most deserving of a top 25 list of distinction.”

He said that his list is based on an institution’s values, including a longstanding commitment to their immediate community.

“Let’s be discerning as we evaluate colleges and universities and realize that they are institutions that do far more than educate and perform research.

“They have invested their own dollars, leveraged with government and philanthropy in their neighborhoods. They have renewed life on urban streets and restored historic buildings. Their payroll and purchasing power help sustain local private enterprise. They have an esprit about service to their community, working in local schools and social service programs and enjoying a positive relationship with local officials,” Dobelle wrote.

“These institutions benefit in a legitimate, self-interested way with both increased applications for admission and alumni fund-raising.”

Filed under: Feature,Volume 39 Issue 1

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