Vanderbilt contributes $9.5 billion to TN economy

Sarah Friedman, Senior Writer

Between 2015 and 2016, Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center infused the Tennessee economy with around $9.5 billion, according to the “VU in TN” 2017 report. The report was compiled by TXP, Inc., an economic analysis and public policy consulting firm based out of Austin, TX.

To arrive at the $9.5 billion statistic, which represents the total economic impact Vanderbilt has on the community, the report considers taxes paid, jobs created, uncompensated care distributed from VUMC, tourist revenue generated, and spending on large projects, such as construction projects. Additionally, the report features the fact that Vanderbilt is the largest private employer in Nashville, and the second largest in TN.

We create that incubator for that competitive advantage by creating and taking ideas that turn into businesses that create jobs

In addition, Vanderbilt’s thought leadership plays a large role in its ability to impact the economy. The university has awarded over 35,000 degrees during the last decade, and contributes to innovation and invention. In 2016, innovative technologies generated over $6.5 million in revenues, 46 U.S. patents, 75 licensing agreements, and five startups, the report states.

As examples of these contributions to innovation, Green cited Robert Webster’s work with laser-guided surgeries and steerable needles, Anita Jansen’s advancements in non-invasive cancer procedures, and James Crowe’s contributions to vaccines.

“We make investments in people, we train tomorrow’s leaders,” said Nathan Green, Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs. “But if you look at it from what we do also is we create that incubator for that competitive advantage by creating and taking ideas that turn into businesses that create jobs and the leadership in both those ways in the more traditional sense and also in a modern sense is what makes Vanderbilt stand out.”

The 9.5 billion figure represents around a ten percent increase from the same figure two years ago, which was around 8.6 billion.

Green also emphasized that the contributions that faculty, staff and students make to their community on a daily basis contribute to Vanderbilt’s impact as well.

“We have faculty, staff, even students, who contribute back to the community to try to make their neighborhoods a better place, their workplace a better place to live,” Green said.

He continued by noting that the report should serve as a source of pride for Vanderbilt students, who play a big role in Vanderbilt’s community impact.

“The students and their involvement play a major role in that, and be proud of what the university does,” Green said. “Because not only is it a great place to get an education, it’s actually a great place to work and it’s a great place to use your leadership skills to make the community a better place to live.”

On top of this, the university itself is focusing on expanding charitable and philanthropic efforts.

There’s really not a region of the state that Vanderbilt does not impact

“We are called upon every day and every year, by our community leaders, to contribute more, and we rise to the challenge and have, as a community partner,” Green said.

On the press release announcing and distributing the report, eleven Tennessee leaders, including Mayor Megan Berry and Bradley Jackson, the president of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  commented on the noteworthiness of the report.

“There’s really not a region of the state that Vanderbilt does not impact,” Green said. “That’s what the Chancellor says all the time, we love Tennessee, we are committed to the state. And the numbers back that up.”

Video by Vanderbilt Television.