The global economy is critical to the success of the Columbia region and all of South Carolina. Since 2000, we have seen more than$2.8 billion in announced foreign direct investment in the Midlands and more than 9,000 in job announcements. In 2013 alone, foreign-affiliated companies announced $30 million in capital investment, generating more than 336 jobs.
The Columbia World Affairs Council was founded 22 years ago to serve as the bridge between the Columbia community and our global partners. Each year, the council sponsors the Global Vision Award to recognize a person or business whose contributions have made a significant impact in expanding South Carolina’s international horizons. This year’s Global Vision Award recipient will be Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Pastides has been a transformational leader for the University of South Carolina. Under Dr. Pastides’ leadership, USC’s Honors College has been named the No. 1 public honors college in the nation, and the Palmetto State’s only Carnegie top-tier university is also home to top programs in undergraduate international business, public health, engineering, hospitality retail and sport management and more.
The Darla Moore School of Business’ undergraduate international business program is ranked No. 1 by Bloomberg Businessweek. U.S. News & World Report ranked the Moore School’s undergraduate international business education No.1 in its September 2014 annual survey “America’s Best Colleges Guide” — the 16th consecutive year the school has received this distinction.
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Perhaps one of Dr. Pastides’ greatest impacts on South Carolina’s participation in the global economy will be the Innovista Research District. The Great Recession caused a delay in the development of Innovista, but recent announcements show that Innovista is on its way to becoming what we hoped it would be for the Columbia region: a great opportunity to create jobs and increase our per capita income.
Innovista — a research campus in downtown Columbia, similar to research campuses in Raleigh with N.C. State, Atlanta with Georgia Tech and Austin with the University of Texas —has been long in the making. The late Andrew Sorensen announced the vision to build a research campus in downtown Columbia in late 2003, and at Columbia’s Technology Summit that year then-Vice President Pastides outlined the areas of specialty for the research campus.
More information on the council and the Oct. 7 awards dinner
Last year, the University of South Carolina, IBM and Fluor Corp. agreed to develop a technology research center on campus, a $25 million, five-story office tower at the corner of Blossom and Assembly streets, next to one of Innovista’s academic halls. IBM and Fluor will be major tenants.
In August, the university and Boeing announced a $5 million agreement that calls for USC to conduct advanced research projects aimed at delivering new technology for the aerospace giant. The research will be carried out at the McNair Aerospace Center on the USC campus. This partnership highlights the aerospace and aviation industry’s growing presence in South Carolina, home to more than 400 companies that employ more than 17,000 aerospace workers.
The Columbia World Affairs Council has worked to reach out to the world and connect Columbia and South Carolina to the economic opportunities around the globe, and President Pastides has been a leader in bringing the world to South Carolina.
Mr. Monk is chair emeritus and Mr. Coble is chair of the Columbia World Affairs Council; contact them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.