$54.8 Million State Investment Boosts Local Colleges and Universities

Illinois wants to give its college grads more leverage in a competitive job environment. So, the State has invested $54.8 million in local colleges and universities, including nearly $4.8 million for major improvements at Columbia College Chicago, to beef up its facilities of learning.

The grants are part of $90 million in the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program to address the critical needs of the state’s private colleges and universities ― all part of an effort to improve higher education. At a gathering with university leaders, Governor Pat Quinn told the crowd that “jobs follow brains.”

“And [better schools do] create jobs today, and tomorrow, because those graduated from these institutions, they go into our economy and our workplaces.” said Governor Pat Quinn. “They are the ones, in the 21st century, that are going to create new businesses, create new apps, create new opportunities and jobs for everyday people.”

Columbia College Chicago will use the money to make improvements in classrooms and laboratories, as well as increase energy efficiency in many of the historic and landmark buildings that make up the college’s urban campus.

“All of us are very grateful in the investment of the state in the futures of our young people,” says Kwang-Wu Kim, President and CEO of Columbia College Chicago. “We are committed to working together with the Governor, and the State, to continue to advance higher education in Illinois.”

Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, President of DePaul University, says their $7.8 million grant will be used to build a technologically-advanced 47-classroom space to house the English and History departments.

“We remain proud, as the state’s largest private university, that 18,000 of our 25,000 students come from Illinois. Eighty-percent of our graduates stay in Illinois and raise their families and pursue their careers here,” says Fr. Holtschneider. “Quite simply, this investment in a private institution bears enormous public good. And we’re grateful to be part of a state that respects this contribution and assists it.”

Loyola University will use their $5.7 million grant to redevelop an existing building.

“We are building a new institute for environmental sustainability,” says Phillip Hale, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at DePaul University. “It’s going to be a combination of laboratories, classrooms, and dormitories helping a cohort of Loyola students to live and embrace environmental sustainability in a very significant way.”

In the Chicago area, 27 private colleges and universities will receive grants totaling $54.8 million. Among those institutions, John Marshall Law School will receive $927,673 for a Veterans Legal Support Center and Clinic. Robert Morris University will receive $2.6 million to expand their library.

Under Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, private universities have received $200 million to address their capital needs. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest capital construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest capital construction programs in the nation. Other investments include:

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