Loudoun County and GW set to expand together

ASBHURN, Va.

Drive an hour from the District into Virginia and you will find GW’s next urban campus.

Loudoun County, home to the University’s Virginia Campus, is looking forward to finding a vested partner within the new University administration as this community continues to grow in the next decade.

“We welcome GW as a partner and are excited about working with them. We are also glad that (University President Steven) Knapp’s spotlight is on the Virginia campus and its growth, not just Foggy Bottom,” said Lawrence Rosenstrauch, the director of Economic Development for Loudoun County its Chamber of Commerce.

With enrollment up about 10 percent this fall, Rosenstrauch said the county has been working to encourage increased attention from the University. He said he hopes Knapp will follow through with his promises to commit resources to the campus.

In a story in Leesburg Today, Loudoun’s local newspaper, Rosenstrauch predicted that by 2020 the county will be larger than Minneapolis. Loudoun County government officials said they hope the University will help this expansion by increasing the value of the county’s technology industry in fields such as life sciences, engineering and aviation.

“The fact is, having the presence of a major higher education institution is significant for developing a top-20 style community,” Rosenstrauch said.

Loudoun County is already one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. The median household income in 2005 was $98,483 – the highest among counties with 250,000 residents or more, according a U.S. Census Bureau survey.

“While there is no direct correlation between our economic growth and GW’s presence, we embrace the campus and want to see it become a better and better partner,” said Dorri O’Brien Morin, Loudoun County manager for strategic initiatives and communication.

GW’s Virginia Campus, founded in 1991, offers graduate programs in the School of Business, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It also hosts numerous research labs including the National Crash Analysis Center.

“Our programs are designed to respond to the needs of the local economy. Our research programs are also linked to the talent and industrial needs of the region,” said Roger Whitaker, dean of the College of Professional Studies.

He cited GW’s executive leadership programs and the partnership between the education graduate programs and the Loudoun County school system as examples of this relationship.

“Education is a critical factor in where people choose to live and work.GW’s presence in the county has helped corporations and other entities attract and retain excellent employees,” the campus’ chief academic operating officer Craig Linebaugh said.

Linebaugh said plans for future expansion are currently in the development process and that the first changes will most likely include renovations of the research labs and the National Crash Analysis Center’s facilities.

Administrators also praised GW’s direct involvement within the county. Linebaugh is a member of the Loudoun CEO Cabinet. Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman and others from GW serve on the Loudoun Science and Technology Cabinet. They also participate in the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce and the Loudoun Convention and Visitors Association.

GW also offers graduate programs in Arlington, Alexandria and Hampton Roads. The Loudoun County campus is the only campus that is fully owned by GW and features research capabilities.

Whitaker said, “GW has made a large footprint in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

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