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February 1, 2003

UMBC Community Encouraged to Voice Support at Legislative Reception on Feb. 20

State leaders are balancing the budget and Maryland's shortfall is affecting higher education, making this year's Alumni Reception in Annapolis a very important opportunity for the faculty, staff, alumni and students to let elected officials know that continued financial support for higher education is vital.

"This is an excellent time to speak face-to-face with legislators about the programs and people that make UMBC an outstanding university worthy of continued investment," says President Freeman Hrabowski.

All University System of Maryland schools, including UMBC, are working together to educate newly elected lawmakers and Governor Robert Ehrlich about the importance of continued support for public higher education in Maryland.

However, given the current budget climate, it is important for the entire UMBC community to be a voice in Annapolis. "The legislators need to hear first hand about the faculty and programs that UMBC offers students and about the value of a UMBC education," says Shirley Bigley, general counsel for UMBC.

Funding also benefits Maryland's economy. Mark Behm, vice president for administration and finance, says, "It's higher education that provides the skilled workforce and brings in research dollars that help develop new technology to be transferred to industry - particularly in this region."

The Annapolis event was launched four years ago by Jack Neil, American studies and political science '77, a longtime lobbyist and political consultant. The goal is to highlight UMBC's successes while providing a forum for the UMBC community to mingle with legislators.

"The reception is an unbelievable networking opportunity," says Neil, who also founded the Alumni Association's Public Policy Forum. "The number of legislators who attend is amazing." The event typically draws between 300 to 400 attendees. "That's definitely a tribute to President Hrabowski and his team, and the success of our alumni who work in various policy positions," he adds.

Those who have attended past receptions say they are glad they took the time to attend. "Every year, the students in our department's political internship program join me and other members of our faculty at the Annapolis legislativereception," says Tom Schaller, assistant professor of political science. "The event is a fantastic opportunity for these students to mingle with legislators, university administrators and the many UMBC alumni who work in key positions in state government. For our supporters in Annapolis and around the state, the students provide a vivid reminder of the importance of the state's investment in higher education."

The reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. To RSVP (deadline Feb. 13), visit http://www.umbc.edu/alum/annapolis. Transportation is available; to reserve a space on the bus call Pat Granger at ext. 53718.

Posted by dwinds1 at February 1, 2003 12:00 AM