Northern Michigan University President David Haynes thanked local government Monday evening for what he calls a positive and necessary relationship between the city and the university.
"We have to cooperate or we couldn't exist together," said Haynes at the Marquette City Commission meeting. "I think that cooperation is what is special about the culture in the Upper Peninsula."
Haynes revealed, in part, a recent study that states the university's regional impact is in excess of $311 million, generating more than 4,500 jobs in the region, which represents about 1 in 33 jobs in the U.P. and 1 in 6 in Marquette County, while remaining the second most affordable tuition in the State of Michigan.
Northern Michigan University students spend roughly $53 million in the U.P. each year, with an economic impact of $74 million. Students and faculty occupy approximately 43 percent of the Marquette City rental housing stock.
The study shows the university also brings more than 123,600 visitors to the area each year who would not otherwise visit the area. These visitors spend approximately six million dollars while in Marquette County, with the majority seeking activities in the City of Marquette.
"We've really worked on revitalizing our downtown," said Marquette City Commissioner Don Ryan. "Visitors bring a lot of people into our hotels, our restaurants, shopping in our stores. Those dollars all go into our local economy, they employ people here."
Recently, NMU announced a slight decline in enrollment this fall. We asked President Haynes what the university is doing to recruit and attract students long term. Working with local businesses is key, Haynes said.
"It's important for us to know what kind of jobs will Duke LifePoint have, what should we train people for?" Haynes said. "What about Pioneer Surgical, what about Cliff's Natural Resources, what about Kennecott, etc.?"
Haynes said the university hopes to answer those questions by working closely with local businesses. Haynes also said the university plans to release more about the intellectual and cultural impact Northern Michigan University has in the region.