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September 4, 2008

Shepherd: An economic engine

The Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) recently wrapped up a very successful summer season (its 18th, in fact). The festival represents a very strong and flourishing partnership between Shepherd University and the leadership of the festival. CATF produces first-rate theater which attracts a regional and metro-area audience and national interest.

Not only does Shepherd benefit from an enhanced reputation by hosting the festival, the local economy also benefits from the tourist dollars. Tourists and theater lovers attending the festival pump money into the local economy at the rate of $5 for every dollar spent on theater ticket­--a welcome boost for shops, hotels, and restaurants in Shepherdstown.

Shepherd positively impacts the local economy in other ways. As an institution of higher education, Shepherd University is not typically thought of as a business--but its $45 million annual operating budget makes Shepherd one of the larger businesses in the region.

That $45 million is pumped into the local and regional economy in exchange for a wide variety of goods and services, a boon to businesses both large and small. A decade of growth at Shepherd has brought construction projects to campus totaling more than $100 million, substantially contributing to the area's construction industry.

During the academic year, some 3,000 students travel to campus on a daily basis, and their buying power, combined with that of the 1,000 students who live on campus, strengthens the local economic scene, benefiting restaurants, shops, gas stations, and banks. Toss in more than 600 full- and part-time employees (representing a payroll of $25 million) and you have a force that contributes to a vibrant and varied local economy. When you add to the mix alumni returning to campus for homecoming, sports fans attending games, and lovers of the arts making Shepherd and Shepherdstown a cultural destination, Shepherd's economic impact increases.

Shepherd's mission is teaching and training today's students to be tomorrow's productive citizens in their roles as teachers, accountants, business owners, nurses, scientists, computer engineers, historians, artists, musicians, economists, and social workers. The contributions made by our alumni as taxpayers and consumers further strengthen the economy of the region.


Shepherd University | Office of the President | P.O. Box 3210 | Shepherdstown, West Virginia | 25443-3210
304-876-5107 | 800-344-5231