Gift to Salisbury State is for leadership center Facility fits plan to build student interest in service

December 02, 1998|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF

Spurred by a gift from a wealthy alumnus, Salisbury State University announced yesterday that it plans to build a center to promote leadership qualities among its undergraduates.

Annapolis-area businessman Michael Scarborough, a 1976 alumnus and investment-firm founder, has pledged $500,000 toward construction of the center. The remaining $200,000 is to be raised by the university's charitable foundation.

University officials said the planned 7,000-square-foot structure, with its ceremonial reception room, library and computer study, will be the first of its kind in Maryland. Other state colleges or universities offer seminars and workshops to promote student leadership, but none apparently has a similar building dedicated to that purpose.

The center, to be built on Camden Avenue near the university's admissions house, fits into the school's long-term plan for developing leadership among its 5,534 undergraduate and 546 graduate students. The school offers summer orientation for potential student leaders, and a leadership seminar taught through the Perdue School of Business.

"I wouldn't be surprised if, in the next four to five years, Salisbury isn't either offering or looking into offering a major in leadership," said Joseph Oravecz, the university's director of student activities and programs. He said that a growing number of colleges and universities are emphasizing leadership development.

The center also should help bring together Salisbury State's social and academic societies, Oravecz said. Fraternities and sororities lack houses for their members because of city regulations limiting the number of unrelated people living together. The school has no designated offices or meeting rooms for the groups on campus.

"Every week you have to find a different room to have meetings," said Jason Tringone, president of the Interfraternity Council. "Now we'll have an actual place to hold our chapter meetings."

Though only 5 percent of students belong to a fraternity or sorority, the number of such groups is growing, said Tringone. A fifth fraternity was added recently, and four sororities have chapters at Salisbury. The campus also has about 19 honorary or academic societies, though not all are active, he said.

Tringone said he hopes the student leadership center can help improve the image of fraternities and sororities by enhancing their community service work.

"There's a stereotype towards Greeks, that all we do is party," said the 20-year-old junior elementary education major from Long Island, N.Y. "We have an opportunity to break that mold to [show] that Greeks actually do positive things, that we are here DTC to benefit students at Salisbury State."

The center will be named for Scarborough, a former football player and founding member of Salisbury State's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. His 10-year-old firm, the Scarborough Group, manages more than $1.5 billion in assets for 401(k) retirement plan participants.

Pub Date: 12/02/98

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