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Colleges are key players in cities’ bids to host Amazon’s 2nd headquarters

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Originally Posted: January 19, 2018

Since Amazon narrowed its list of potential locations for a second headquarters on Thursday from over 200 qualifying regions to just 20 finalists, colleges in those lucky cities have become more hopeful that they might reap the benefits if the huge company comes to town.

The new headquarters, to join Amazon’s first, in Seattle, will create an estimated 50,000 high-paying jobs in the city it selects, according to the online retailer.

While higher-education institutions see the opportunities a nearby headquarters could bring their students and alumni, the prospective deal may be mutually beneficial to Amazon and the city’s nearby institutions. The universities and colleges near each finalist may sway Amazon’s headquarters selection. And Amazon said in a statement it is looking for a place with “the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent.” Among the finalists with multiple large, highly ranked institutions are Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

Colleges hoping to draw the retail giant to their town are quick to highlight their technological achievements. Southern Methodist University’s president, R. Gerald Turner, cited his institution’s work on an academic supercomputer in Dallas, a finalist. At Purdue University, Suresh V. Garimella, executive vice president for research and partnerships, emphasized its record in producing STEM degrees as one draw of an Indianapolis headquarters. READ MORE