U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D -- Ohio, welcomed 35 Ohio college presidents to Washington as he hosted his 11th annual College Presidents Conference on Thursday.
Brown office said he hosts the conference each year to help connect Ohio college presidents with one another, as well as lawmakers, federal agencies, and other education experts.
Among those representing schools in southern Ohio were Dr. M. Duane Nellis, of Ohio University; Dr. Michelle R. Johnston, of Rio Grande University; Dr. Betty Young, of Hocking College; and Dr. Rick Kurtz, of Shawnee State University.
"Our higher education system is one of our state's greatest assets, and today we're talking and sharing ideas about how we leverage that asset to grow new industries, create jobs, and bring new opportunities to Ohioans," Brown said in a news release.
The theme of this year's conference was "Innovation, Incubation, and Entrepreneurship at Institutions of Higher Education."
At the conference, leaders heard from the Ohio Innovation Fund, a Columbus- based venture capital fund that helps Ohio schools market research; the National Science Foundation's Industrial Innovation Partnerships, a federal program to foster collaboration between higher education and business leaders; and business incubators, which discussed economic opportunities for colleges and social entrepreneurship.
"We are excited to collaborate with Senator Brown and his team on the topic of innovation in Ohio," Bill Baumel, managing director of Ohio Innovation Fund, which helped sponsor the College Presidents Conference, said. "At the Ohio Innovation Fund, through strong partnerships with The Ohio State University, Ohio University, and Kent State University, we have seen great progress in our efforts towards transforming innovative research into highly successful Ohio-based companies growing in excess of 100 percent annually in industries such as Med Tech, cyber security, data science, and advanced manufacturing, providing excellent career opportunities for Ohioans.
College presidents also discussed college access, affordability, and accountability as lawmakers look to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and heard from a variety of education advocates, policy advisors, and higher education experts.
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