USM Legislative Testimony

Thursday, February 10, 2005
House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Education & Economic Development
UMB & FSU
REGENT TOM FINAN

Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee. I am Tom Finan, a member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, and I am here today to testify on behalf of the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Frostburg State University. These two institutions represent the System's dedication to providing outstanding educational and research opportunities throughout Maryland. In addition, they stand as tremendous examples of the ethic of community outreach and community involvement that are an important part of the USM mission.

Presidents Ramsay and Gira will talk about their individual institutions and the progress they have made toward the legislative mandate of national eminence. At this time I would like to recognize them and thank them for the leadership, creativity, and spirit they have brought to their positions.

I know that Chancellor Kirwan and Chairman Kendall testified before this committee last week, outlining the challenges facing public higher education in Maryland and the steps we have taken to address those challenges. I will not rehash their testimony. I would, however, like to join my colleagues in thanking Governor Ehrlich and the members of the General Assembly for their support of the University System. I agree with both Brit and Cliff that the proposed funding increase will assist us in our efforts to accommodate enrollment growth and strengthen academic programs while keeping tuition increases modest. Your leadership and support are very much appreciated.

I am also very proud to say that despite the challenges we have faced, our campuses continue to excel as centers of learning, hubs of economic development, and focal points of community involvement. UMB and FSU are perfect examples of how USM institutions are rising to the challenges we face and excelling.

UMB

As you know, University of Maryland, Baltimore is the University System of Maryland's Founding Institution and the state's Academic Health Center. UMB will be celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2007.

Each of UMB's six Professional Schools - - Dental, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work - - are nationally ranked. And when you consider the individuals in Maryland who practice these professionsour nurses, physicians, social workers, etc.the majority of them were educated at UMB.

For the last decade, President David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil, has led the University of Maryland, Baltimore, in extraordinary advancements in scholarship and research, clinical care, technology, community service, homeland security, and partnerships.

To honor President Ramsay's achievements, the UMB community established the Presidential Scholarship Fund in 2004. Gifts to this endowment will offset the high cost of graduate education and help UMB to continue to attract and train the best and brightest students as leaders in health, legal, and social services. To date, more than $8 million has been contributed to this fund. It is no wonder that last November, WBAL TV led off their Thanksgiving editorial with praise for President Ramsay, expressing their thanks for his decade of leadership.

Along with its commitment to educational and research excellence, UMB is dedicated to service to the surrounding community. At UMB, each professional school has a variety of community service partnerships, projects, and programs that impact the University community, Baltimore city, and the state of Maryland. Every year, UMB faculty members, students, and staff provide more than 2 million hours of community service across the state.

FSU

Frostburg State University is the premier educational and cultural center in western Maryland and is a potent economic force for the region. While the Baltimore-Washington corridor tends to get most of the attention in Maryland's leadership in the knowledge economy, FSU is proof that our efforts to extend the benefits of the knowledge economy extend throughout the entire state.

For example, the new Compton Science Center will help educate the next generation of scientists and engineers. By providing opportunities for ground-breaking research in state-of-the-art labs and generating a highly-educated, highly-skilled 21st century workforce . . . the Compton Science Center will help make Frostburg the heart of a thriving bio-tech corridor. In addition, as you will hear from President Gira, the Science Center and the faculty at Frostburg State are becoming magnets for several incubator and start-up companies, two of which are currently moving into dedicated space on the FSU campus.

FSU's Center for Volunteerism and National Service continues to be heralded as a national model by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Just last month the AASCU designated Frostburg's Community Outreach Partnership Center program as a "Place of Promise" . . . . making FSU one of the first institutions to be honored with this special recognition. COPC [COP-SEE] is a university-wide partnership network that links FSU faculty and students directly to the community service to meet unmet needs. This past October, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich formally recognized FSU's A STAR! program, an initiative that provides direct services to low-income families at 10 sites across Allegany, Washington and Garrett counties, as one of four programs in the state that are "successfully meeting community needs through their partnerships with public and private entities."

And as the new USM Hagerstown Center begins operations, FSU will perform and oversee many campus functions, saving the System significant expenses. As you know, FSU has operated a Hagerstown Center for some time and is ideally suited to play a vital role in the new and exciting educational center.

Your support for the proposed FY 2006 budgets for UMB and FSU will help these institutions continue to thrive as centers of educational excellence, thriving economic engines, research powerhouses, and vital assets to their respective communities.

Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your time and attention. I know our Presidents will provide an even sharper picture as to why support for the USM is crucial to the future of our state. Their institutions are committed to serving Maryland. We hope that they will continue to be provided the resources they need to serve our state to the very best of their ability.