WESTMINSTER — To live in Carroll County and not visit the community college is like "living in Paris and not going to the Eiffel Tower," says Michael L. Mason, a Westminster real estate broker.
That's why Mason, who also serves on CCC's advisory board, has sponsored two get-to-know-the-college breakfasts. The first scrambled-eggs-and-ham affair catered to real estate agents. The second served brokers.
"I felt it was important for Realtors to know about the college,"Mason said during a breakfast in the college's executive board room last week. "The first person someone talks to when they're looking tomove here is a Realtor. We want them to know Carroll Community College is a great asset."
The breakfasts also allow real estate agentsand brokers to meet Executive Dean Joseph F. Shields, who joined thecollege's administrative staff last summer.
"I'm a great fan of the community college," Mason said. "I'm impressed by the professionalism and the entrepreneur spirit you'll find here."
The breakfasts,which will continue next month with insurance agents, include a slide presentation about the college.
"I like to tell people communitycolleges are among the best-kept secrets," Shields said. "We serve the community."
He said community colleges have been criticized "for being all things to all people." Carroll, for instance, serves preschoolers (through its day-care program for adult students) through senior citizens, he noted.
"I like to say we serve people from the cradle to the grave from 7 until 11," Shields said, noting the main campus is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays.
About 5,000 Carroll residents are enrolled in credit and non-credit courses each semester, he said.
Shields, a former executive officer of a U.S.-run two-year college in Panama, offered agents up-to-date details on other college endeavors, such as:
* Bids for the 21,000-square-foot multipurpose building, which will provide additional classrooms, faculty office space, computer labs and a lecture room, will be opened Feb. 27. Construction is expected to begin in April, with completion slated within one year. The overall cost is $3.1 million.
* The college, which operates under the auspices of Catonsville Community College, hopes to undergo its own accreditation process by 1995.
* Although a transition team has been appointed by the commissioners to study the college's independence, Shields said he doesn't believe the time has come for the college to go its own way. He foresees a semi-independent or cooperative venture with Catonsville.
"I'm not sure this is the time we want to raise our hands and say we want to be independent," he said.
* Although about 50 percent of the state's high school graduates attend community colleges, those institutions receive only 15 percent of state dollars for higher education.
Charles J. Plunkert, a Century 21 real estate broker from Westminster, found the meeting with Shields worthwhile.
"This gives us some input about the college," Plunkert said. "It gives us background about the college, sowe can tell people about it when they come in. It's great to have this type of meeting."