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Keith Orris to Lead Drexel's Corporate Relations and Economic Development

8/30/2012 9:01:00 PM

Photo of Keith Orris, Drexel's new senior vice president for corporate relations and economic development
Keith Orris, named Drexel's new senior vice president for Corporate Relations and Economic Development

Drexel University has appointed Lancaster General Health Senior Vice President Keith A. Orris as senior vice president for Corporate Relations and Economic Development, a new position that will play a key role in realizing the vision of Drexel’s new strategic plan. Orris will join the University on October 15.

“Keith will lead the development and implementation of the University’s economic development strategy, helping to propel Drexel forward as one of the most impactful universities in the Philadelphia region, and across the tri-state area,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “I have the utmost confidence in his skills, insight and ability to help harness Drexel’s transformative power for the good of our city and region.”

In this new role, Orris will also be responsible for broadening and deepening Drexel’s relationships with corporate partners, ensuring that the University is leveraging these relationships across all dimensions of possible interaction, from research partnerships to cooperative education opportunities to philanthropy and more.

Under his leadership, the University will continue to work with businesses, entrepreneurs and government leaders to become a nexus for research, technology transfer and economic development. He will lead the development of the “Innovation Neighborhood” articulated in Drexel’s strategic plan. With the University’s proximity to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, one of the nation’s best-connected transportation hubs, Drexel is uniquely positioned to anchor a new gateway to Philadelphia and a vibrant district for innovation. Orris will seek to attract and retain corporate partners to this effort, and serve as Drexel’s main liaison to Amtrak, SEPTA and PennDOT. He has extensive experience working with transportation providers, which will serve him well in this role.

Orris comes to Drexel with more than 25 years of experience in community and economic development, from his current position at Lancaster General Health. There he has been responsible for managing campus planning, developing strategic plans for the health system’s ambulatory real estate portfolio, repositioning holdings and directing the Northwest Gateway Project, a massive rail yard relocation initiative and one of the most complex development projects in the history of both the City of Lancaster and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

He serves as chairman of the James Street Improvement District Board, was a past board member of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County and is a current board member of the EDC Finance Corporation and Albright Care Services. He is also a member of the Economic Development Committee of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and was a past board president of the Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Prior to his time at Lancaster General Health, Orris was vice president for Administrative Services and Business, Government and Community Relations at Franklin & Marshall College. He initiated the Northwest Gateway Project with the City of Lancaster, Norfolk Southern Railroad and Lancaster General Health, and was also responsible for many of the college’s key operations, including master planning, capital projects, facilities and operations, real estate management, auxiliary services and the Department of Public Safety. Orris also developed strategic relationships for the college and managed government relations at the local, state and federal levels.