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San Diego Regional EDC’s Annual Dinner will be held on June 4, 2015 at Sea World San Diego. Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is once again serving as the underwriter for this year’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
We sat down with PLNU president, and EDC board member, Dr. Bob Brower to learn more about PLNU and what’s in store for the future - as they work together with the region’s other universities, to help develop San Diego’s next generation of leaders.
1) Tell us about PLNU.
Founded in Pasadena, California in 1902, PLNU moved to Point Loma in 1973 with 1,000 students. Since coming to San Diego, PLNU has experienced unprecedented institutional growth and development alongside the rapidly growing San Diego region. Today we serve over 3,600 students at our residential campus in Point Loma, in regional centers across Southern California and online.
As a liberal arts institution, PLNU is known for being forward-thinking. At PLNU, academics, faith, and community are all vital. Students benefit from this balanced approach to education and leave PLNU prepared to think, act, and contribute to San Diego and the world. During our four decades in San Diego we have become an institution known for excellence in academic preparation, wholeness in personal development, and faithfulness to mission.
2) Ensuring San Diego has a steady stream of talented university grads is essential to our regional competitiveness strategy. What are some of the advantages to having your university located in San Diego?
It is the accessible and collaborative character of our region that provides an unparalleled advantage to our students and compels PLNU to remain invested in San Diego.
Our students benefit from a region that is invested in developing talent to compete on the world stage - while maintaining a distinctly regional focus. Furthermore, the collaborative relationships that exist among San Diego’s robust and diverse higher education and business communities further affirms our respective institutions’ commitment to educational quality for the benefit of our students and the future of San Diego.
Through faculty leadership and community support, our students and alumni actively contribute to regional dialogue and potential solutions on a variety of issues. PLNU’s Fermanian Business and Economic Institute is actively informing local economic policy in the areas of housing affordability, military economic impact and homelessness. The Center for Justice and Reconciliation at PLNU serves as a regional convener of local law enforcement, nonprofit agencies and policy makers in the continued campaign against human trafficking in San Diego. Our Institute for Politics and Public Service, through the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement, is engaged in the study and practice of civil discourse together with the promotion of the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes. School of Nursing faculty and students are invested in the community of City Heights through PLNU’s Health Promotion Center, providing health education, screening and access to care.
3) What do you anticipate for PLNU in the next 5 years?
Steven Mintz, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, explained more than two years ago that “higher education is now in a revolution of change.” American colleges and universities are experiencing the most rapid and dramatic changes in history – PLNU is no exception.
Preparing students as effective leaders in a rapidly changing world is not a new calling for PLNU; it is the foundation of our history and work. For generations, PLNU has developed students deep in conviction and life skills who were academically well prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of their day.
In effort to support this development, PLNU will celebrate the completion of our new science complex this summer. With nearly 40 percent of PLNU’s undergraduate students majoring in one of the STEM-related disciplines, this much-needed facility reflects the quality of our faculty and students, further strengthening the undergraduate research programs which offer students the ability to conduct faculty mentored research. This hallmark of the undergraduate science experience at PLNU produces graduates ready for future doctoral research and equipped to serve in San Diego’s life science and high tech clusters – but it is not unique to the STEM disciplines. As in the past, we will continue to develop critical and ethical thinkers equipped to meet San Diego’s workforce needs in the STEM, humanities and business fields.
PLNU remains focused on strengthening and expanding our distinctive learning community and enhancing our ability to respond proactively to the dynamic environment of higher education and the San Diego region. We continue to develop strategies and programs for degree access beyond the traditional, residential campus. Whether through new hybrid and online programs in advanced studies or adult degree completion, or baccalaureate partnerships with the region’s community colleges, we strive to serve new populations of students, thus allowing PLNU to further meet the workforce development needs in our region and prepare effective leaders who impact San Diego and the world.
4) What do you anticipate for the San Diego region?
As a region, San Diego is not immune to change. Building upon a unique culture of creativity and collaboration, San Diego has - and will continue to - distinguish itself as a leader in innovation, defense, healthcare, and tourism sectors. This necessitates the training and development of human capital in a variety of ways to better meet San Diego’s current and future workforce needs.
America leads the world in innovation says Jim Clifton, author of The Coming Jobs War and Chairman and CEO of Gallup, but innovation alone is not enough to fuel job growth. Clifton was in town to give the keynote speech at San Diego Regional EDC’s annual dinner. More than 800 people listened in almost total silence (no mean feat for a group that size) as Clifton talked about the difference between innovation and entrepreneurship. According to Clifton, we know how to test for intellectual talent and scout intellectual talent but we have no mechanism to determine who can best take those ideas to the marketplace. And without a customer, the best ideas do nothing for job creation.
Clifton picked up on the dinner’s recurring theme of collaboration as reflected in the comments of EDC Chairman Stath Karras and EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty. He referred to his concept of “tribal leaders” in a community, those who constantly question and suggest new approaches to issues. “When leaders get their strength together, there is no limit to what you can do,” Clifton said, recognizing that most of the region’s leaders were in the room.
Clifton acknowledged one of San Diego’s best examples of a tribal leader – Malin Burnham – who was instrumental in bringing Clifton’s ideas to the business community and in bringing Clifton himself to San Diego.
Clifton made it clear that no one should be looking to Washington for solutions to America’s problems. “We have to win the world back one great city at a time,” he said.
EDC’s annual dinner also honored former EDC Chairman Bill Geppert with the Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award. Geppert was humble and gracious in his remarks, mentioning many beloved San Diegans who came before him as great civic leaders.
Many people took to twitter to discuss the event:
What everyone in the world wants is a good job.
It sounds simple enough. If a region can create these so called ‘good’ jobs, then it will prosper. But how do we do this? Cue Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton.
Clifton, author of The Coming Jobs War, says we should focus on creating good jobs because as jobs go, so does the fate of nations. Economic stability hinges on leadership’s ability to create these good jobs. San Diego, with its geographic destiny and strong business climate, must continue to leverage its assets and traded economies – military, tourism and innovation – to pull ahead in the great jobs race.
Fast forward to less than a week from now, we’ll be sitting at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hearing Jim Clifton discuss how San Diego can get ahead in the race for good jobs at EDC’s 48th Annual Dinner.
For the past 47 years, EDC’s Annual Dinner has been full of excitement, celebrating the Mega-Region’s rich and diverse businesses. With more than 850 elected officials, and community and business leaders in attendance, this year promises to be no different.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the generous support of our numerous sponsors and investors, and our dinner underwriter, Point Loma Nazarene University.
Register here for the dinner and make sure to join the conversation on twitter #EDCAnnualDinner
If you want to see a round-up of some of last year’s highlights, you can check them out on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150851843796717.403117.60837071716&type=1&l=12c6879af9