EKU, Richmond to Host 2012 Conference of International Town & Gown Association

Photo from ITGA announcent

Eastern Kentucky University and the City of Richmond will host the International Town and Gown Association’s seventh annual University-City Relations Conference in 2012.

Conference planners expect the event, scheduled for June 4-8, will attract at least 400 attendees, representing educational institutions and communities from throughout the U.S., Canada and several other countries, as well as representatives from institutions and communities in Europe, South America, and Asia with which EKU enjoys exchange agreements. Representatives are also expected from Australia.

The theme for the 2012 conference is “Town and Gown Partnerships for the Present and Future.”

“Eastern Kentucky University is pleased and honored to be selected as the 2012 site for the International Town and Gown Association’s seventh annual University-City Relations Conference,” EKU President Doug Whitlock said. “It speaks well of our community that the City of Richmond and EKU are recognized internationally as a model of excellent town and gown relations. It’s no secret the two of us are inextricably linked as partners for progress and we look forward to sharing our success story as we welcome the ITGA to Richmond and Eastern next June. I believe our guests will be impressed by the spirit of our community.”

Conference sessions will be conducted in the historic Keen Johnson Building and the nearby John Grant Crabbe Library and its Noel Studio for Academic Creativity. The opening reception will be held Monday, June 4, in the Keen Johnson Ballroom. In addition to keynote addresses delivered by leading figures in higher education and community development, breakout sessions and roundtable discussions will focus on a wide variety of topics in economic development, urban planning, student affairs, community relations, law enforcement, bioenergy, education, city/university planning, arts and culture and much more. The final day of the conference will focus on certain aspects of the community and EKU that will be of specific interests to community and higher education leaders.

The evenings will feature special events designed to allow attendees to capture a flavor of Richmond and Eastern’s “Southern Hospitality.” Also as a part of the conference activities, the EKU Center for the Arts (set to open in Fall 2011) will present a joint performance by three classic acts from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll: The Drifters, The Coasters and The Platters. (The concert will be open to the public as well.)

The International Town and Gown Association strives to become the primary information resource point for common issues between institutions of higher learning and the communities in which they reside, bringing together practitioners from varying fields to address immediate issues and future opportunities. The ITGA provides a network of resources to assist civic leaders, university officials, faculty, neighborhood residents and students to collaborate on common services, programs, academic research and citizen issues, creating an improved quality of life for all residents, students, visitors, faculty and staff.

“ITGA is very honored to have EKU and the City Richmond of Kentucky serving as the host site for the 2012 ITGA University-City Relations Conference,” said Kim Griffo, executive director of the Association and former director of Murray State’s Town and Gown Office. “EKU and Richmond exemplify one of the top town-gown communities in the country and their shared commitment to forwarding collaborations that benefit both their students and the entire community includes several monumental undertakings that serve as great examples for not only our national audience but our international audience as well.  

“We know with the spirit and drive EKU and Richmond share generates a spectacular platform for university and city leaders from all across the U.S and internationally.  Our compliments to President Whitlock, Mayor Jim Barnes and Conference Chair Marc Whitt and all the team that makes great things happen. It is strong top-down leadership that sets the pace for success in living, learning economies.”  

The Association’s roots are in Clemson, S.C., where the relationship between the city and Clemson University is viewed as a national model for building and maintaining mutually beneficial town-gown relationships. City and University collaborations for fire protection, transit service, joint marketing initiatives, student involvement and other projects have provided service and economic benefits for both partners as well as a high-quality living and learning environment for all. The Clemson Joint City-University Advisory Board’s (JCUAB) first town-gown symposium in Fall 2006 drew 250 city and university officials from across America and Canada to the Clemson campus. The idea of a permanent town-gown professional organization began to take shape at that conference, and in 2008, the JCUAB officially created a forum to launch the International Town and Gown Association.

Since 2006, ITGA annual conferences have been held at the University of Florida, Texas A & M, Murray State University, Iowa State University and the University of Colorado.

A full list of the ITGA university and city members can be viewed at http://www.itgaonline.org/content.aspx?ContentID=1447.

Members of the Conference Planning Committee include Whitlock, Whitt, Charles Hickox, Debbie Hoskins, Lori Beth Miller, Jill Price, Caelin Scott, James Street and Mark Welker, all of EKU; and Barnes, Jimmy Howard, Lori Murphy-Tatum, Donna Baird and Mendi Goble, all of the City of Richmond.

Registration information, as it becomes available, will be posted at www.itgaonline.org. For more information, contact Kim Griffo at kim@itgaonline.com or at 864-656-5077.  Those wishing to exhibit at the conference or sponsor an event should contact Marc Whitt at marc.whitt@eku.edu or at 859-200-6976.

Published on June 14, 2011