The University of the District of Columbia is an HBCU and it is known as the only public university in Washington, D.C. (Photo by the University of the District of Columbia)

By H. R. Harris,
Special to the AFRO

The University of the District of Columbia has evolved into an international institution that attracts students, and the school is on sound financial footing, according to an internal report. 

Every weekend the sidewalk in the 4200 block of Connecticut Ave. is lined with vendors from various countries. On  May 7, diplomats from Libya, Uganda, and Eritrea displayed a variety of items at UDC during the city’s annual Passport D.C. festival.

Steve Shulman, executive director of Cultural Tourism D.C., said in an interview, “My hope for Passport D.C. is to help remind everyone that we are more alike than different, despite the multitude of cultures and beliefs.”  

Shulman came to UDC last week. It was one of the venues for the annual open house for a trio of embassies in the District because it is already a gathering place for international students. The school is adjacent to an enclave of embassies.

UDC was an established historically Black land-grant university in 1851 and is the only public university in the city. In the school’s history, despite having various administrations and fiscal challenges, the school has become a beloved part of the community. 

In July of 2021, UDC announced the results of an independent economic impact study that showed that the University generated $406 million within the District of Columbia and $523 million in annual financial impact in the Washington Metropolitan Region. 

“This independent study confirms the importance of having a strong public system of higher learning in the District as the anchor for a sustainable, resilient, equitable urban community,” said UDC President Ronald Mason, Jr. in a public report.

“The results of this study emphasize the value of the Equity Imperative, the University’s strategic plan,” Mason said. “An investment in UDC is an investment in the future of the District as a model for the nation.”

According to the report, UDC is responsible for creating more than 2,700 jobs, and the institution contributes about $27 million annually to the District’s tax revenue.

The report said that the UDC research is also growing, garnering $43 million in awards and grants. 

UDC’s Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs, Dr. Victor McCrary, said in the report, “In addition to our mission of academic excellence, UDC’s faculty are recognized nationally for their research leading to innovations that are in alignment with the theme of the University’s strategic plan, The Equity Imperative, of ‘Urban Sustainability and Urban Resiliency.’ We are D.C.’s Research Laboratory.”

The study included an analysis of impact indicators and fiscal contributions conducted in 2020 by Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI), a Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm.