For many people, the annual return of September and late summer is synonymous with the beginning of a new school year. Here in Bozeman, we are fortunate to have not only a variety of quality elementary and secondary schools, but we are also the proud home of Montana State University. I was recently reading an article from the most current REALTOR® Magazine titled "Innovation in College-Town Real Estate." The author, Meg White, chronicled in part the connection between the University of Kansas and the real estate market in its hometown of Lawrence, Kansas. Nicholas Lerner, an agent with McGrew Real Estate in Lawrence, makes many points that a seasoned real estate agent in Bozeman might also say about the relationship between Montana State University and Bozeman as he explains that the two entities are "tied inextricably." White continues on to further delve into the affiliation, "What agents like Lerner have long understood about the close connection between real estate and colleges, city planners, developers, and school administrators are starting to notice as well. While universities don't typically add to the cities' financial ledgers through property taxes, they have always contributed to the local economy and real estate market by creating jobs, training people, and bringing in new residents. Still, relationships between colleges and their surrounding neighborhoods are changing as both public and private investors look for ways to turn innovation into entrepreneurial expansion. Over the past decade or two, communities and schools have become more aware of the interconnectedness of the "town and gown" relationship." While often tricky to quantify, MSU's impact in Bozeman is significant. Though the official numbers for Fall 2018 enrollment have not yet been published, you can glean an understanding from looking at the numbers from last year and anticipate there has been an increase. Fall 2017 showed an enrollment of 16,703 students, making it Montana's largest university. Students live, purchase goods, and recreate in Bozeman which heavily supports the economy. Academic excellence at MSU is shown through low student to faculty ratios, world-class faculty, students receiving prestigious awards annually, and national recognition for the university's research. All of these factors lead to continued educational success and competitive advantage of attending the university. The physical presence on campus keeps making steady improvements. Two recent displays include the opening of the Rendezvous Dining Pavilion and groundbreaking for yet another new residence hall. These enhancements provide solid employment opportunities for the construction companies that are on site. MSU's Farm to Campus Initiative effects the agricultural economy by purchasing meat, vegetables, fruit and more from over 100 Montana producers, creating a win-win situation for diners and businesses. On the real estate front, we continue to appreciate the business we receive as a direct result from Montana State University. Homes are purchased on an ongoing basis by faculty and staff alike, and a great number of investment properties are bought by parents for their children to live in while attending college. An abundance of newly constructed apartment complexes, especially in close proximity to campus, are a result of the continued growth in enrollment. Ideally, a vast amount of MSU graduates will choose to remain in the area post-graduation and purchase a "move-up" home once established, continuing to solidify the connection between a vibrant town and its impressive university. Go ‘Cats!