Student Leaders from USM Join Gov. O'Malley, Lt. Gov. Brown in Rally to Support State Funding for Public Higher Education

Annapolis, Md. (Feb. 28, 2013) -- Students from throughout the University System of Maryland (USM) helped to lead an enthusiastic rally in appreciation of Gov. Martin O'Malley's budgetary support of public higher education in the state.

During an afternoon event at Lawyers Mall on Thursday, Feb. 28, Gov. O'Malley joined Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, USM Chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan and presidents of USM institutions during Maryland Student Lobby Day to call for the Maryland General Assembly's approval of the governor's proposed funding for USM.

The USM has worked closely with Gov. O'Malley and the General Assembly to ensure access to first-rate and affordable academic opportunities for USM students.

The governor's budget proposal provides $1.2 billion in state funds for the USM, representing a 7.7 percent increase from last year. More than $34 million is for enhanced funding in vital areas of state and USM needs, including: technology transfer and commercialization; the use of technology in transforming academic instruction; and courses in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

After the rally, Gov. O'Malley issued a public statement on his administration's continued commitment to making college affordable.

"Six years ago, Lt. Governor Brown and I committed to making college more affordable for more of our families. And every year of this Administration, even during the toughest of times while cutting more than any administration in state history, we have invested to make this a reality," the governor's statement said.

The statement continued, "If we want to be leaders in science, leaders in security, and leaders in innovation, it all comes down to how well we educate our future generations. We consider this not only to be something good for our State, but essential for our country."

During his remarks, Kirwan thanked the governor and legislators for their critical role in making USM institutions affordable. "We have been so fortunate in Maryland to have the budgetary support of Governor O'Malley and our legislators to help the USM serve the needs of our students and the state."

Zachary Cohen, president of the USM Student Council and a senior government and politics major at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), joined student leaders from all USM institutions in organizing the event.

"It was great to see people representing so many different institutions from throughout the USM, in the same place and at the same time," Cohen said. "We welcome the chance to come together as USM students."

A first-generation college student, Jerica Bennett, president of the Frostburg State University Student Government Association, urged legislators to approve the governor's budget so that students will not be forced to withdraw from college for financial reasons.

"If we are limited by not being able to maximize our educational experience, where would we be in this world?" Bennett told the audience.

Steven Hershkowitz, the student representative on the USM Board of Regents, said it was important for students to learn more about the diverse arrays of campuses in the system and receive introductions to a few members of the General Assembly and members of their staff.

"Any time students can get out there and talk to their delegates and senators, they share what the state's support is going toward: their journey to finish college, find a sustainable career, and contribute to the state," said Hershkowitz, a second-year master's student in public policy at UMCP. "This way, legislators see the return on the investment they make in us."







Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719