IN ATLANTA RIGHT NOW,
its a safe bet an Emory student is spending a dollar on
a Coke. Or twelve dollars on a pizza. Or fifty on a new pair
a construction worker whos spent the day hanging sheetrock
in Emorys new performing arts center is writing his monthly
mortgage check or taking his family out to dinner.
its possible that a radiologist from Emory Hospital is
out shopping for a new compact disc player, while the wife of
a patient who traveled from Macon for X-rays orders room service
in her hotel.
these dollars fall, like the proverbial pebble, into the pool
of money that makes up Atlantas base economy, causing
a ripple effect thatwhen its combined force strikes shoreis
finally estimated at a staggering $3.4 billion a year.
most people probably dont consider Emory University a
business in league with major corporations like Delta Air Lines
or BellSouth, a newly compiled set of eyebrow-raising statistics
suggests that perhaps they should. According to the most recent
examination of Emorys overall economic impact on metro
Atlanta, the Universitys annual contribution is akin to
holding a Summer Olympic Games every eighteen months.
1999 alone, the University spent $1.33 billion in metro Atlanta
on payroll, purchases, and construction. Spending by students,
visitors, and retirees bumped this direct spending total up
to $1.5 billion. Those dollars, in turn, found their way into
employees paychecks in all manner of occupations and industries,
generating indirect spending to the tune of nearly $2 billion.
In their latest study, University economists used special multiplier
formulas, provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau
of Economic Analysis, to calculate that for every dollar Emory
spends, $1.24 is pumped indirectly into Atlantas economy.
When compared to similar studies conducted five and ten years
ago, that figure has nearly doubled in the last decade, and
is expected to climb even higher.
dont think most people understand the magnitude of Emorys
operation, says John L. Temple, executive vice president
and chief operating officer, who led his staff in conducting
the 1999 economic impact study. We are a university, but
we are also a large business, from an economic perspective.
We should be thought of in comparable terms.
study has been conducted regularly to help make the regions
political and business leaders aware of Emorys economic
presence. We receive funding support from them, so this
is just to help them understand the benefits of what Emory contributes
to the economy, Temple says.
the most notable findings: The study revealed that Emory is
the third-largest employer in metro Atlanta, ranking below only
Delta and BellSouth. With a full-time workforce of nearly nineteen
thousand, Emory is the largest employer in DeKalb County and
spent $904.6 million on payroll and benefits in 1999. In addition,
more than fourteen hundred construction workers owed their jobs
to Emory projects in 1999, and general University spending created
another 26,447 jobs for local businesses. All in all, Emory
is responsible, directly and indirectly, for about one out of
every fifty of Atlantas 2.2 million jobs.
probably comes as a surprise to most people, Temple says.
People think of us in terms of our student enrollment.
If you asked people on the street which area university they
think has the largest economic impact, I can bet that the University
of Georgia and Georgia Tech would be put ahead of Emory, because
of their larger student enrollment.
sets Emory apart? A major difference is Emorys Robert
W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, which includes Emory Healthcare
systems six medical operating divisions as well as four
distinct educational and research centers. The Health Sciences
Center accounts for the lions shareabout 75 percentof
Emorys total expenditures and some fourteen thousand employees,
says Ronnie Jowers, vice president for health affairs.
Healthcare has earned a place among the nations top health
care systems, with Emory Hospital ranking in eight of seventeen
medical specialties in U.S. News & World Reports July
2000 listing of best hospitals. If you were to talk to
somebody in south Georgia, South Carolina, or Tennessee, and
say to them that you are going to Emory, I believe many of those
people would think that means you are going for health care
services, Jowers speculated. I think Emory is probably
best known in the Southeast for health care, and that in
itself drives a lot of interest from students, doctors, researchers,
In 1999, forty-two thousand patients sought their hospital care
at Emory hospitals, and patients made one million visits to
Emorys hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms. The total
of Emorys care through its own facilities and those of
its three affiliate institutions amounted to more than four
hundred thousand emergency room visits, 2.4 million outpatient
visits, and 114,000 admissions.
of these factors has a multiplier, how many times that dollar
is spent again and again, Jowers says. A patient
in the hospital has a pretty good sized multiplier. They may
have visitors who come, eat out, and stay in hotels. And we
have a number of construction projects in the works. The construction
dollar also has a significant multiplier effect.
as anyone on a leisurely stroll through Emorys campus
can see, construction dollars are being spent in spadesby
the hundreds of millions. The University is expanding through
a $600 million construction boom aimed at improving existing
facilities and creating new ones. During the next few years,
under the guidance of the campus master plan, eight major buildings
are or will be in constructiona science classroom and
laboratory facility, a new home for the nursing school, a medical
research building, a cancer institute, a hospital redevelopment
project, an arts center on the Oxford campus and one on the
Atlanta campus, and student housing and recreational facilities.
In addition to new construction, teaching spaces are being updated
and enhanced throughout the campus.
the 1999 economic impact study was conducted when actual construction
spending was in a relative lull: just $62 million. That figure
represents 17 percent of the $362 million spent in DeKalb County
that year for individual, business, and industry construction,
and indirectly those projects yielded another $142.6 million
to benefit Atlantas economy. Between 2000 and 2005, Emorys
construction costs are projected to total $613.2 million. And,
of Emorys total expenditures, more than 80 percent is
spent in metro Atlanta, a considerable boon to the city, says
Edith C. Murphree, associate vice president for administration.
Once those dollars are spent in the Atlanta area, they
create a ripple effect in the Atlanta economy so that the total
impact actually multiplies, she explained.
course, Jowers pointed out, You have to fill all these
research buildings up with top quality scientists. The
Health Sciences Center attracts thousands of highly regarded
experts and millions of dollars in funding to Atlanta through
its intensive research agenda. In 1999, Emory received $217
million in research funding. Of that figure, $204 million went
to the health sciences center. The School of Medicine is ranked
nineteenth among medical schools for its level of research funding;
the Rollins School of Public Health is among the top ten public
health schools. Scientists at Yerkes Regional Primate Research
Center are pioneering vaccines for AIDS and malaria and new
treatments for vision loss and cardiovascular disease. These
projects bring renowned researchers and faculty members from
all over the world each year, says Temple, and boost Emorys
reputation nationally and internationally. Research is
growing faster than ever before, he says.
addition to Emorys high-powered health sciences center,
its other undergraduate and graduate programs pack a considerable
economic punch. Nearly eleven thousand full-time students spent
$71.9 million in the local economy in 1999 on housing, food,
clothing, and the like. Students living off campus spent nearly
$22 million on housing alone. Emory students also spend $25
million at metro area grocery stores and restaurants, and more
than $10.6 million on clothing. As this money was spent, it
generated another $64.3 million in economic activity.
including parents, friends, scholars, and retirees, play a role,
too. An estimated 153,000 Emory visitors spent at least one
night in Atlanta in 1999, with a total impact of $147.8 millionroughly
equal to the impact the city would receive from hosting three
Major League Baseball All-Star Games each year. Retirees of
Emory spent $31.4 million, indirectly leading to another $29.2
million in total impact on the economy.
Emorys reach into the surrounding community cant
be measured in dollars alone. The University benefits Atlanta
through volunteer partnerships with a range of organizations
that help underserved populations, in areas from health care
and housing to child advocacy and counseling. Students in the
Candler School of Theology serve throughout metro Atlanta as
part of a required contextual education program. By the time
they graduate, 50 percent of Emory undergraduates have volunteered
in the community, and faculty in all manner of disciplines provide
volunteer services to those who might otherwise be unable to
afford, for instance, legal aid or health care. And Emory offers
a rich array of cultural opportunities each year, many of which
are free to the public.
faculty, staff, and students are very much involved in an impressive
number of community outreach programs and activities in many
different areas, says Betty Willis, associate vice president
for governmental and community affairs. If you wanted
to quantify the beneficial aspects to the community in economic
terms, it would be quite substantial. It has a domino effect.