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WisBusiness.com: Chancellor says UW-Madison an economic driver

By Andy Szal

MADISON -- UW-Madison Chancellor Carolyn “Biddy” Martin declared Monday that the university was a statewide economic driver that could do even more to foster small and big businesses alike during tough times.

Martin called the financial stress facing the state “unprecedented” but said that cutting the UW too much in the next budget would diminish the university’s stature and harm economic development in the long term.

“Given the massive investments that are being made in higher education around the world, including in this country, it will be very, very difficult to sustain and enhance our stature, but I think its absolutely necessary,” Martin said. “With relatively modest investment compared to what’s being made elsewhere, we can keep a university great that’s already great.”

She said UW-Madison is a gem that shouldn't be marred by deep budget cuts. “It’s almost a miracle that a state with relatively modest wealth over time has built a flagship campus that’s this great,” she told a WisBusiness.com-Madison Magazine luncheon at the Madison Club.

Martin added it should be no surprise that economic activity surrounds UW-Madison. She said the university’s role in creating business depends on its preeminence in attracting the best students and faculty.

“If you look at where a lot of economic and especially high-tech development is occurring in the United States, even in Europe and in Asia, it’s all clustered around major research universities,” Martin said. “There’s a reason for that, and that’s well documented.”

Martin hailed the entrepreneurial spirit of UW-Madison. She referred to her work with Wisconsin School of Business Dean Mike Knetter and University Research Park Director Mark Bugher to enhance that entrepreneurship as one of her most enjoyable experiences since taking the helm at Madison.

“There’s a certain kind of entrepreneurial spirit that has everything to do with having this be a research university,” Martin said. “And to the extent that we keep this a great research university, all these young people benefit.”

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