University System seeks center in Hagerstown Undergraduate, graduate programs would be offered

December 15, 1998|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

The University System of Maryland is considering putting a center in Hagerstown that would offer graduate and undergraduate degree programs run by institutions in the system.

"We are in negotiations with leaders of that community," said John Lippincott, association vice chancellor for advancement at the system. "We are very enthusiastic about them."

The only education in Washington County beyond the community college level is offered by Frostburg State University, which operates a center in Hagerstown that serves about 200 students.

"We can only do so much," said Catherine Gira, Frostburg State's president. "If the entire University System was involved, you could have so many more offerings."

Lippincott said the proposed center would be modeled after the center the system operates at Shady Grove in Montgomery County, which started in 1981 with 246 students and this year enrolled almost 12,000.

Six of the 13 public higher education institutions in the University System offer courses there.

The Shady Grove center is aimed primarily at older students. Lippincott said the Washington County proposal also calls for programs aimed at students of traditional college age.

"In Washington County, currently less than 15 percent of adults have a B.A. degree or higher," said Wayne E. Alter Jr., president of Dynamark Security Center, one of the businessmen who have been supporting the idea.

"We have to do better than that in an era when employers are looking for a trained work force and opportunities to further the education of their employees."

Alter said the proposal for the center calls for funds from the state and county, and contributions from businesses.

One possible site, near Hagerstown Junior College, would allow the center to share facilities with the college.

Although it would be several years before such a center could open with its own buildings, Lippincott indicated that it could get off the ground sooner by expanding the offerings at Frostburg State's current location in downtown Hagerstown.

Pub Date: 12/15/98

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