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Study finds Vanderbilt generated $8.6 billion economic impact on Tennessee

Feb. 21, 2013, 8:00 AM

Vanderbilt University had an $8.6 billion impact on the Tennessee state economy during fiscal year 2011-12, according to an independent economic analysis released today.

View the full report at the Vital Stats website.

Among the factors measured were Vanderbilt’s direct spending on operations and construction, spending by students and visitors, and spending by businesses as a result of Vanderbilt’s presence in the state.

“Vanderbilt is proud to call Tennessee home and to contribute to the economic vitality of our neighbors across the state,” said Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “While all that we do is not easily quantifiable, it’s gratifying to know the university contributes to a measurable and significant impact on the quality of life in Tennessee.”

The analysis, prepared by Austin, Texas-based TXP, Inc., reported that Vanderbilt, the second largest private employer based in the state, generated an economic impact of $8.6 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. Also of note:

  • The economic activity supported 58,000 total jobs with wages and benefits in excess of $3.4 billion. That included Vanderbilt’s 25,000 full- and part-time staff and faculty.
  • Vanderbilt spent $86.6 million on construction, building and leasehold improvements. These expenditures supported hundreds of local jobs in the construction and building maintenance sector in FY 2011-12.
  • Vanderbilt-related activity attracted 700,000 visitors to campus, including patients, parents and athletic enthusiasts, creating jobs and wages for businesses and vendors in the community.
  • Tax revenue generated by Vanderbilt and related activities drove estimated Tennessee tax revenue of $221.6 million into state coffers.

“The overall economic and societal impact of Vanderbilt University is truly staggering. The depth of their impact saturates not only Middle Tennessee and Tennessee’s rural communities, but indeed regions throughout the state. These areas of impact are diverse, ranging from health care to education and true workforce and economic development,” Catherine Glover, president of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.

“The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry is not only honored to have Vanderbilt as an investor in the state chamber, but is also proud to call Vanderbilt a cohesive and influential stakeholder in our statewide economy. We look forward to continuing to partner with Vanderbilt to help keep Tennessee’s quality of life high and economic future prosperous.”

TXP concluded that Vanderbilt University “is a substantial factor in the regional economy.” But the impact potentially exceeds the calculations, the report says, since a university’s economic impact extends well beyond the traditional workplace because of factors not easily quantifiable such as “a highly capable workforce, innovation and entrepreneurship, clusters in knowledge industries, and superior quality of life.”

Vanderbilt will continue to seek ways to contribute to the vitality of the state of Tennessee in education, health care, research, entrepreneurship and a myriad of other realms, Zeppos said.

“We are always seeking partnerships across the state for research opportunities that lead to development and business that can provide jobs and ultimately improve the quality of life for all citizens,” Zeppos said.

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