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Salisbury University: $480 Million Economic Impact

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Salisbury University contributes an estimated $480 million of annual economic activity and supports over 32-hundred jobs.

The new study by the Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network also found that the school provides $80 million in tax revenues for local, state and federal governments.  

In her 16th year as president of the university Janet Dudley-Eshbach noted the positive economic impact and praised the partnership with the community and its supporters.

Early on in her tenure in 2005 the university had a local economic impact of $351 million supporting around 3-thousand jobs.

The university has around 87-hundred students with a payroll for some 18-hundred full-and-part-time faculty and staff.

University Press Release

 February 22, 2016

                For Immediate Release

SU Contributes Over $480 Million Annually to Local Economy

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University’s impact on the Eastern Shore economy is approaching half a billion dollars annually and supports almost 3,300 local jobs, according to a recently released 2016 economic impact study. The University adds nearly $80 million each year to local, state and federal coffers from taxes generated by this activity.

With a community of some 10,500 students, faculty and staff, SU has had an increasingly positive impact on the area economy, growing by some $130 million in the last decade.  A steady, planned increase in student population; hiring of new faculty and staff; and a dynamic reconfiguration of the physical campus with several notable construction projects have been hallmarks of the expansion.

According to BEACON, the Business, Economic And Community Outreach Network, which conducted the recent study and also one a decade ago, SU currently generates a $480.5 million annual local economic impact and supports 3,287 jobs. In 2005 the local impact was $351 million, supporting the equivalent of 3,000 jobs.

The growth has come during the tenure of President Janet Dudley-Eshbach, now in her 16th year, the longest serving woman president in the history of the University System of Maryland.

For Dudley-Eshbach “This study reaffirms the positive contribution the University makes to our region and beyond. The strong partnerships between the campus and the greater community are also, I think, celebrated with these numbers.  SU would not have the reputation or success it enjoys without its community partners and supporters.  The University will continue to do all it can to help our students, region and state prosper.”

Along with Perdue Farms, Inc., Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Wicomico County government, SU is one of the county’s biggest employers.

In the study, BEACON used the IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) economic impact assessment software system originally developed by the University of Minnesota and U.S. Forest Service.  The IMPLAN model includes all economic effects when calculating total output/employment.  This includes direct, indirect and induced (ripple-effect) impacts.

SU has nearly 8,700 students and a payroll of some 1,800 full- and part-time faculty and staff. With nationally ranked academics and athletics, cultural offerings and internationally known events like the Sea Gull Century bicycle ride, the campus attracts thousands of visitors annually.  The study calculated economic impact from several categories including operations, construction, student spending locally, visitor spending locally, an educated workforce, outreach and entrepreneurship activities.

The biggest single impact is the University’s $165.2 million annual operating budget. When a multiplier effect is taken into consideration, with funds being re-spent in the local economy on goods and services, each dollar in operational monies at SU results in total economic activity of $1.46 in the region.  The overall local economic impact then rises to over $240 million.

The economic impact of student spending is $90 million.

New construction projects at SU in the past 16 years also have had a major impact of some $535.7 million (an average of $33.5 million annually), supporting approximately 1,700 total jobs, according to the study. These have included the Scarborough Leadership Center, Henson Science Hall, the Teacher Education and Technology Center, the Wayne Street Parking Garage, Sea Gull Square, Perdue Hall, the Henson Medical Simulation Center, Sea Gull Stadium and the Guerrieri Academic Commons.

An estimated $112 million in additional funding is brought to the region by an SU-educated workforce, outreach programs and entrepreneurship activities. This includes $94 million in lifetime earnings per graduating class, assuming conservatively that 10 percent of SU alumni remain in the region after graduation.

For more information visit the SU website at www.salisbury.edu or call 410-543-6030.


“With nearly 9,000 students and 2,000 faculty and staff, Salisbury University has an unquestionably positive impact on our city.  Salisbury University graduates over 2,000 bright, talented, young entrepreneurs, teachers, artists and scientists into the world every year, representing nothing less than the future of this community.  Salisbury’s ongoing renaissance, creating a vibrant, cool place for these young minds to establish themselves in the world, is part of the symbiotic relationship that indeed makes us Maryland’s Coastal College Town.”

Jake Day, Mayor

City of Salisbury

“Salisbury University has long enhanced the stability of our local and regional economy, and its stature as an economic engine continues to grow along with the campus itself. With all four schools privately endowed by entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well as perhaps best demonstrated by the University’s well-known business plan competitions and the resulting new business formations that help drive our economy forward. Add to that the cultural amenities found both on and off campus, the University’s presence can be seen and felt throughout our region.”

David Ryan, Executive Director

Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development, Inc.

“Salisbury University is an invaluable asset to this community and to this region.

These numbers are impressive and important. They help quantify the overall contribution that SU makes to this community, as an economic development engine, as a jobs provider and as a major contributor to our collective intellectual capital. The work of the Greater Salisbury Committee over the years has been enhanced greatly by our continued partnership with SU on issues of importance to the community, and we salute the work of one of those partners, Dr. Memo Diriker, for putting these numbers together for all to see. Congratulations, and thank you, SU.”

Mike Dunn, President/CEO

Greater Salisbury Committee

“Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Salisbury University have enjoyed a strong, vibrant, personal, professional and productive relationship ever since SU was founded in 1925.  It’s one that I am extremely proud to continue to advocate and foster. 

“Like siblings, our two institutions truly have helped one another to become stronger and to define all that is good and promising for the people of the Delmarva Peninsula.  We’ve stood together and we’ve championed a number of initiatives, and members of SU’s faculty have and currently do provide governance on our Board of Trustees. 

“However, perhaps none of our partnerships is more important than our combined commitment to healthcare, from both the clinical and the business schools.  Much of our healthcare safety net has been woven by Salisbury University graduates who began their careers with clinical rotations at our Medical Center and have—fortunately for us—chosen to establish and, in many cases, retire from their careers here.

“I am particularly pleased because such large numbers of SU’s nursing, respiratory therapy, medical technology, exercise science, computer science and business graduates have been and continue to be essential to Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s ability to meet the expanding healthcare needs of our region. 

“Salisbury University’s ability to start and expand critical clinical academic programs will enable us to continue to meet those healthcare needs into the future.  And, as we grow beyond our campus to enrich the lives of everyone across our population health initiatives, a strong and reliable partner in Salisbury University is key to our success.

“Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach and I share a number of philosophies, and at the top of that list are two beliefs that are as near and dear to us as anything … to never stop learning and to always inspire as a servant leader.

“I’m honored to say that our team has given back as professors, lecturers and mentors, while  Salisbury University faculty have returned that favor, helping us to strengthen our leaders though a continuing series of conflict resolution and leadership building courses and seminars. We are privileged to have such a visionary leader and a forward-thinking University just down the road. 

“We’re blessed to have Salisbury University as a partner for ‘life.’”

Dr. Peggy Naleppa, President/CEO

Peninsula Regional Health System

”Salisbury University is an asset to Salisbury and the Eastern Shore of Maryland from both an economic and cultural perspective. The University’s commitment to educating at the highest levels provides a constant stream of graduates entering the local and regional workforce.  NASA Wallops Flight Facility has benefited from the knowledge and research capabilities of the staff, faculty and students at Salisbury University.”

Bill Wrobel, Director

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

“The economic impact of Salisbury University to the Eastern Shore of Maryland is profoundly significant and eloquently pronounced in this study. While everyone at SU should be proud of their regional impact, they also should be proud of their broader impact to our state, the nation and beyond. Academic excellence, innovative teaching and learning, an emphasis on research, and abundant opportunities for students to engage with the private sector, study abroad and participate in the local community are embedded in SU’s culture—a culture whose impact goes far beyond Camden Avenue.

Renée M. Winsky, President and CEO

Leadership Maryland

“The technology, knowledge and research capabilities of the staff, faculty and students at Salisbury University have contributed greatly to the success of many local firms and the community at large.”

Kevin Bernstein, Class of 1992 and SU Foundation Board member

Eastern Shore Business Leader

“Salisbury University significantly improves the quality of life in Salisbury and throughout the Eastern Shore region in numerous regards, as evidenced once again by the latest economic impact study. As a proud Salisbury University graduate who chose to stay in Salisbury to build my career upon graduation, I am well aware of the influence Salisbury University has on our community and region. The University’s impact on our economy, as well as its contribution to providing highly educated and well prepared students in the workforce directly benefits area businesses. Additionally, the University injects a positive energy and youthful spirit into our community through many cultural and community outreach initiatives.”

Kim Gillis

Chair of the Board of Directors, Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce; Senior Associate, Becker Morgan Group; and SU Alumna



1 – A chart of key figures from the economic impact study

2 – Business leader Kevin Bernstein presents Jenna DeLetto with the Bernstein Achievement Award for Excellence as winner of the 2015 SU Student Entrepreneurship Competitions.

3 – Construction continues on SU’s Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons, scheduled to open this fall.

4 – SU celebrated the donation of The Gallery Building in downtown Salisbury during a festive ribbon-cutting ceremony.

5 – SU students train for healthcare careers in a campus simulation center.

6 – The Sea Gull Century 100-mile/100-kilometer bicycle ride draws thousands of visitors to the Eastern Shore each fall.

7 – NCAA track and field champion Luke Campbell is one of hundreds of student-athletes who draw spectators to campus each year.

8 – Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.