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"The foundation of every state is the education of its youth."
-Diogenes Laertius.

Higher learning is Washtenaw County's main industry, with the University Of Michigan (U-M) and Eastern Michigan University (EMU) acting as the region's two towers of innovation and inspiration. With combined student populations of nearly 64,000 and funding that approaches $1 billion each year, it is impossible to under sell the importance of these two great institutions.

Eastern Michigan University is renown for its College of Education, producing entire generations of teachers and educators to every state in the country. The university's budget was nearly $265 million last year, providing 23, 000 students with a first rate education.

Since its founding in 1849, EMU has produced 130, 000 alumni, many of whom remain in Michigan. Its College of Business was designated by Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 143 most outstanding business schools and the universty, in general, has been lauded for its commitment to diversity and multiculturalism. EMU is also ranked as one of the 100 best schools for the Lesbian/Gay/B-Sexual/Transgender community.

The University of Michigan tops nearly every ranking there is with regard to academic achievement, excellence, and influence. Sitting on a $5.65 billion endowment and research funded to the tune of $823 million last year, it is an academic and economic powerhouse. The university's nearly 41, 000 students (and 420, 000 living alumni) have landed it third and among the nation's public universities, according to USNews And World Report. The list of notable and influential people who have attended UiM is both vast and wide, covering everything from theater and literature to engineering and life sciences. It's sports teams are renown and its pioneering impact on technology is recognized the world over.

Economically, U-M's technology transfer office has been vital conduit between laboratory research and corporate commercialization interests, inspiring both important technological innovations and ground-breaking start-ups.

The University of Michigan's Health System is considered one of the nation’s leading medical and research institutions, consitently ranking among the best in the world in nearly every category, attracting the tenth highest total in research funding from the National Institutes of Health ($265 million, annually) and producing world class researchers and physicians.

And, finally, let's not forget Washtenaw Community College which serves almost 20,000 credit students and 8,000 non-credit students annually. It's well-respected for its continuing education courses as well as the nearly 1,400 degrees it hands out each year and is a vital extended choice educational institution, attracting a surprisingly ambitious and impressive faculty.