The conference will showcase best practices in City (Town) – University (Gown) partnerships, with the theme of “Bridging the Town-Gown Divide: Partnering Towards Economic Recovery”. A Statewide Steering Committee has designed the program, which will feature keynote speeches, interactive panel discussions, and a special Q&A panel made up of Mayors and University Chancellors/Presidents.
The special circumstances of the recession makes collaborations increasingly crucial among cities and universities, to drive economic development in communities and ensure highly educated workforces able to obtain the skills needed to succeed.
The concept of a California Town-Gown conference is the brainchild of the City of Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and the City of Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge. “We both agreed there needed to be a forum to share best practices on how to cultivate successful Town-Gown relationships and how to rebuild damaged ones,” said Mayor Loveridge.
“The success of a campus in many ways correlates directly to the vibrancy and productivity of its relationship with the city in which it is located,” said UC Riverside Chancellor Tim White. He continued: “We are delighted to be able to share some of our ‘best practices’ with other universities and cities across the State but also to roll up our sleeves and learn innovative new ways to work together.”
Previous Town-Gown Conferences were well attended by senior City and University officials, among others. The first Conference was hosted at UC Davis in 2006 and since then has taken place at UCLA and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, each in close partnership with their host cities. This year the conference will take place on the beautiful campus of the University of California, Riverside.