WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Each year at the Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum, a keynote speaker will address business leaders in this community about a key piece of our economy.
This year, that person was Dr. Tedd Mitchell, Chancellor for the Texas Tech University System.
In doing so, he showed the audience how campuses within the system have already impacted the economies of the cities where they’re located.
For example, in Lubbock, that number is $947 million.
Mitchell played a monumental role in securing Midwestern State University, now a fifth member of the system.
Mitchell said his goal is to ensure everyone knows how important MSU Texas is to the local economy.
“When you’re looking for long-term growth in a place like Wichita Falls, you want to make sure that you have the connection and partnership with an institution of higher education like MSU Texas – that that is something that you can leverage for long-term economic development for the city as well,” Mitchell said.
Additionally, Mitchell said they would love to stamp Wichita Falls as an MSU college community, whether or not folks went to school there.
“That is a critical part of the drawing in students from other areas – when they see that the city has embraced the university, and it’s part of the culture of the university and part of the culture of the city – that’s how you get the students here,” Mitchell said.
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Henry Florsheim said community support is vital to get there.
“We need more pride at Midwestern State University, so they can have more alumni support,” Florsheim said. “They can get more students to come to the university.”
Dr. Mitchell said businesses are crucial in making this happen.
“Anything that we can do in partnering with local businesses for mentorship program, internship programs, we really want to do that because it’s not just about getting students to come here to go to school,” Mitchell said. “As much as we can, it’s about attracting them to this community and stay here once they graduate.”
Florsheim hopes that message was sent and received by the end of the forum.
Dr. Mitchell said for those concerned about the identity of the university, their goal is to be a force multiplier.
He said Texas Tech is not here to tell any of the other universities in the system how to operate their business, and MSU will keep its name.
As far as a future stadium being built at MSU, Mitchell said it would be a great thing for the high schools as well as MSU.
Mitchell also said it would play a huge part in building that school spirit.
So far, though, no plans seem to be in the works.