College names building for Glendening

St. Mary's also has one that honors rival Schaefer

October 24, 2002|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

Like William Donald Schaefer, his nemesis on the state Board of Public Works, Gov. Parris N. Glendening is being honored with a college building named for him - on the same campus.

A naming ceremony for the Glendening Student Services Center, at St. Mary's College of Maryland, is scheduled for today. The $9.6 million building, which is expected to open in 2006, will share a green on the north campus with a science building named for Schaefer, the state comptroller and former governor.

"Which one is going to be taller?" joked Dan Ronayne, a Republican National Committee spokesman working in Maryland.

The two-story buildings will be "comparable," said Charles C. Jackson, the college's vice president of facilities. "Neither will be predominant and neither will be diminutive."

"To know that for generations to come, some of our nation's best and brightest young people will embark upon their higher education career by walking through the doors of a building that bears my name is exhilarating and humbling all at once," Glendening said in remarks prepared for today's event.

Glendening and Schaefer have quibbled for years over issues before the Board of Public Works. Recently, Glendening's campaign committee used leftover funds to pay for radio ads attacking Schaefer in an effort to boost last month's failed primary-election challenge by the governor's longtime ally, Secretary of State John T. Willis.

Schaefer, a member of the St. Mary's board of trustees, declined to comment yesterday on the plans to honor Glendening and his support of higher education. But Schaefer spokesman Michael Golden said of the Glendening building: "I hope it has some faux style to it. It would be fitting."

An artist's rendering shows a residential-looking center with a steep roof. A breezeway will connect a multimedia conference room to a main building. The complex will house the registrar, bursar and other offices.

It's not the first time Glendening, in the waning months of his second term, has been so honored. Several years ago, Garrett College named a classroom and office building after him. A nature center bears the governor's name in Anne Arundel County.

Glendening has long said he wants his legacy to include support of higher education and the environment. Since 1995, direct state funding for St. Mary's has increased from $11 million annually to more than $15 million, according to the governor's office. In recent years, the state has also spent millions of dollars from its capital budget on building construction and renovation.

Glendening also backed funding for the Maryland Heritage Project, a collaboration of the college and St. Mary's City to build new tourist offerings, archaeological offices and college buildings.

"We are here today to celebrate your legacy," St. Mary's President Margaret O'Brien says in remarks written for the ceremony.

The naming ceremony comes as Glendening's job approval rating continues to plunge, according to a recent poll for The Sun. Thirty-eight percent of those polled said last month that he is doing a good job in office, down from 46 percent in January and 56 percent in January last year.

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