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University contributes $833 million to community in 2002

Farrell, Liam | Thursday, January 29, 2004

According to an economic impact report set for a Feb. 2 release, Notre Dame contributed $833 million to the South Bend community in 2002.

The biggest areas of impact were purchasing of goods and services which accounted for $536 million, with $305.9 million of that spent in St. Joseph’s County, and $290 million spent on payroll for employees.

The study is the result of the efforts between divisions of Business Operations and Public Affairs and Communication along with city and county government officials.

J. Roberto Gutierrez, vice president for Public Affairs and Communications, said he sees the economic resources that Notre Dame brings to the community as an opportunity to realize potential for a relationship with South Bend.

“[Notre Dame] brings a lot to the table,” he said. “[The future of both communities] is about that kind of cooperation.”

Gutierrez also saw the report as further evidence of Notre Dame’s overall mission as a Catholic institution in pursuit of truth and knowledge that is not confined to the classroom.

“[Learning] doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes a support structure to make it work,” he said. “It doesn’t operate in a bubble. It is in the living, breathing city of South Bend.”

Matthew Storin, associate vice president of news and information, said that while Notre Dame enjoys a good national and international reputation, it has not necessarily been linked to the surrounding community.

“It is in our interest to have residents think well of us,” Storin said.

In light of the economic impact and future goals of the University, Storin said that he envisions the relationship of Notre Dame and South Bend as more of a partnership than it has been in previous years.

“Notre Dame has lots of talented professionals who can work with economic growth, education and service to the needy,” he said.

Storin also said that since Gutierrez has worked in his present position, community relations have been made a major priority. Currently, the department is involved with reconstruction initiatives in the Northeast Neighborhood of South Bend, located south of Angela Street, along with retail development on Eddy Street. Efforts also continue to present Notre Dame’s plans for expansion and receive the opinions and concerns of the University’s neighbors, such as with the proposal for the restructuring of Juniper Road and Ivy Road.

Gutierrez also said that the hiring of Jackie Rucker, a Notre Dame alumna and native of South Bend, as director of community relations, coupled with establishment of a downtown presence with a satellite gallery of the Snite Museum and the Community relations office, has helped the University reach out to South Bend.

As for the future, Gutierrez sees the relationship between South Bend and Notre Dame as very promising.

“Notre Dame can be a model for how such communities can be built,” he said.