Good afternoon and thank you to President Mueller for inviting me today to celebrate the grand opening of the new employee center on 27th Avenue.
It’s a beautiful building right in the heart of this extraordinary campus in the most beautiful city in the country. I think that Mayor Stanton and Councilman Valenzuela would agree. (nod to Stanton and Valenzuela)
In the last seven years, GCU’s nine campuses have grown from 900 students to a whopping 17,500 today, making it one of the fastest growing, most innovative research universities in the country.
And today, the students at GCU represent our best and brightest – from Arizona natives to students from all over the nation – who come to study for four years but stay to raise families and build careers in our great state.
GCU provides Arizona families choice in higher education – from those seeking a private, Christian school experience close to home – to those who come to GCU for the academic rigor and learning opportunities in over 160 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.
In addition to the quality of academics – the university also performs as a key economic engine for the community it is serves – and the state as a whole.
We will hear more specifics from Elliott later about the overall economic impact, but here are some important highlights:
• Over the last decade, GCU has emerged as one of the state’s largest employers, with roughly 9,000 full or part-time employees.
• Through robust STEM workforce programs, GCU has adapted rapidly to industry demand and now has a vital role in the higher education sector in workforce readiness.
• Investing nearly $1 billion in infrastructure construction, GCU has a clear and sustainable footprint in this community and the state – by building state-of-art STEM classrooms and laboratories, residence halls, libraries, and athletic facilities.
• As a private employer, GCU has supported state, county and city public works through millions in direct and indirect tax revenue.
In the private sector, we have a saying – when government gets out of the way and lets innovation do its work, we see new business models emerge that are transformative – and in this case of GCU, quite unique.
GCU’s influence in the surrounding neighborhoods and schools are truly significant and inspiring.
• 30% increase in home values in the past few years AND
• 30% decrease in crime in the last year alone.
And through strategic partnerships with local school systems, GCU has provided free tutoring and mentoring to low-income high school students through its Learning Lounge since 2013.
As governor of Arizona, I want to recognize President Mueller, all of the hardworking GCU employees and the amazing students of GCU for the faith-based ideals that have driven all of you to revitalize this community.
In so many ways you have enriched the lives of people who reside alongside you –
• By building houses through the Habitat for Humanity projects,
• By partnering with the Phoenix Police Department on a neighborhood safety initiative, AND
• By reaching out to local schools and making college real and attainable for so many youth in our state.
GCU’s holistic model that blends private sector know-how and a core belief in free enterprise, an emphasis on applied learning and finally, a belief that as citizens, we should give as much as we take – shows a clear understanding of unmet potential that exists here in Arizona.
Congratulations - you are a true Arizona success story.
And before I conclude, I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to Dan Majerle and the Antelopes in the NCAA tournament. Lopes Up!