Harvard is sometimes portrayed as a parasite to its Boston and Cambridge communities, but a study commissioned by the University and released this weekend discusses how Harvard may not be such a drain on its hosts.
In fact, the study says, Harvard's wealth of knowledge and research promote economic growth in Boston and Cambridge. While it mentions the well-recognized assets the University brings as an employer, builder and buyer, it emphasizes Harvard's contributions of "intellectual capital."
As an institution that employs and educates some of the best and the brightest and supports the exchange of new ideas, the study says the University produces employees and patents products that add to the community financially and intellectually--the "intellectual capital."
The study is the latest initiative of the University's Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Paul S. Grogan, who took over the position in January. Since Grogan's appointment, Harvard has spun into high gear over the past year to improve strained relations with its community, including the University's re-negotiation in August of the payment in lieu of taxes it pays to Boston.
"You have to signal an openness to discourse," Grogan said. Compiling a report of this kind is "something that universities do from time to time."
Harvard has not compiled a report like this in "many, many years," according to Grogan.
An outside consulting firm prepared the report for Harvard in consultation with professors and administrators.
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