When students and faculty return to Frostburg State University's campus early next month, a new president will greet them, one whose collegial style, integrity and academic skills seem well suited to an institution that is still haunted by the prior administration's tilt toward self-promotion and questionable spending practices.
Catherine R. Gira, now provost of the University of Baltimore, takes over Sept. 1 at Frostburg. At UB, she was responsible for much of the academic growth, budgeting and strategic planning that helped that campus thrive in the 1980s. Now she faces a challenge that offers vast potential.
As Dr. Gira put it in her acceptance speech, Frostburg State "serves as an intellectual and cultural center for the westernmost counties in the state, and for contiguous areas in Pennsylvania and West Virginia." It is a role that will expand dramatically upon completed of the new Performing Arts Center. The college not only is a cultural hub for these Appalachian communities but an important employment center, a source of graduate programs for the region's professionals and a promoter of economic development in an area faced with chronically high unemployment.