3 gifts totaling $475,000 given to Towson U.

October 07, 1998|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

Three years into a capital campaign with a $17.5 million goal, Towson University received three private gifts this week totaling nearly $500,000, which will be used to expand the university's speech and hearing program, enhance teacher education and create a software engineering center.

The gifts, from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., France-Merrick Foundation and Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, bring the total raised to $8 million, with four years remaining in the campaign known as "Enriching Lives."

"These are investments both of dollars and faith in an institution that they believe is a major contributor in producing graduates who are ready for the work world now and in the future," said Gary Dorsch, co-chair of the campaign. "These donations from business and foundations are significant."

The campaign is under way at a time when the University System of Maryland, of which Towson is a part, has embarked on a $700 million campaign to conclude in 2002.

Normally reserved for private institutions, capital campaigns are necessary at Maryland's public universities because of declining state subsidies, which in the past have been offset by skyrocketing tuition costs.

BGE's $75,000 gift will allow the university to expand and enhance its preschool speech and hearing screening program through its speech pathology and audiology department. It is the only comprehensive language and hearing program in Baltimore City and county, said Susanna Craine, university spokeswoman.

The France-Merrick gift of $250,000 will set up a faculty endowment fund to enhance the university's teacher education program, which graduates more teachers for kindergarten through 12th grade assignments than any other state institution.

A Center for Software Engineering will be opened with the Deutsch gift of $150,000 to operate from the university's computer and information sciences department. Officials hope the center will attract job possibilities for Towson graduates from area employers such as AAI Corp., Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems, United Parcel Service and the National Security Agency.

The university received a $1 million gift in January from two anonymous donors as part of the campaign. It will be used for an annual award of at least $5,000 to a graduating history major for continued study and for the creation of six presidential scholarships for academic achievement.

Pub Date: 10/07/98

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