Monday December 21, 2009

A Historic Announcement

Scores of people from the campus, community, media and government packed the Kennedy Union Ballroom for the news that the University had purchased 115 acres from NCR Corp., which includes the former world headquarters and Old River Park.

The University of Dayton's announcement Monday that it has purchased NCR Corp.'s world headquarters and surrounding land was charged with a sense of history and optimism.

"Someday, long after those of working here are gone, historians will look back at this day ... and they will say that this was one of those decisions that set the ball rolling for something that generated what Dayton's economy will be 50 years from now," said Ohio Senator and University of Dayton alumnus Jon Husted.

Scores of people from the campus, community, media and government packed the Kennedy Union Ballroom for the news that the University had purchased 115 acres from NCR, which includes the former world headquarters and Old River Park.

Officials believe it is the first time a University has purchased the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company. The news garnered attention from The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"This is a bold move for a private, Catholic university, and it is the right move for the University of Dayton, and for this community at this moment in history," University President Daniel J. Curran said.

The University will move its expanding world-class Research Institute into the building at 1700 S. Patterson Blvd., providing a signature facility for its research arm. The Research Institute conducts nearly $100 million annually in sponsored research and just received its largest contract in history - $49.5 million to develop advanced jet fuels and combustion technologies for the Air Force.

The 455,000-square-foot, five-story building along the Great Miami River also will provide a prominent home for a proposed Alumni Center envisioned in the University's master plan, as well as for graduate classes, executive development programs and conferences. One of the largest office buildings in the region, the furnished facility includes offices, classrooms, an auditorium, a dining facility and a 1,600-space parking lot.

"The University of Dayton has truly been fertile ground for Dayton to move forward," said Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin. "From the Brown Street development to the Fairgrounds Genesis project, the Stewart Street bridge and now, to take the glass that most folks saw that was half empty when NCR left and to have the University of Dayton step up and show that the glass is half full with lots of opportunity for our community."

Others praised the University's research innovations as an economic driver for the region and the state. Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut said from a statewide and national perspective, he sees only good things happening in Dayton as the University takes the lead in the new "knowledge economy."

"Here in Dayton, higher education is indeed the driver of economic prosperity," he said. "The University of Dayton and the University of Dayton Research Institute are fast gaining a reputation as a global leader in research and innovation, particularly in the aerospace industry."

Because of the foresight of its Marianist founders, the University has come a long way since its beginnings in 1850 as a primary school for 14 young boys to become an international Catholic research institution with a global reputation, Curran said.

"Today we again are reading the signs of the times," he said. "We move forward with faith and confidence that this purchase will make a long-term difference for the University of Dayton and the rebirth of this region."

For more information, contact Teri Rizvi at 937-229-3255 or rizvi@udayton.edu.