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April 29, 2004

$5 Million Erickson Foundation Commitment Launches School for Seniors Housing, Aging Services At UMBC

The Erickson Foundation has announced a $5 million commitment to support the formation of a new school to develop leaders in the burgeoning seniors housing and care business and related fields. The Erickson School at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) will focus on courses and research in seniors housing and aging service. It will be named in honor of John Erickson, chairman and CEO of Baltimore-based Erickson, which initiated the gift to establish the school. In addition, the school will seek matching funds from other external sources.

UMBC - a four-year, public research university - is currently home to several leading experts on aging who are active in research, education and service in the field of gerontology. It is one of only five universities in the nation to offer the Ph.D. in Gerontology. The Erickson Foundation gift will allow the University to expand its faculty and array of offerings to reach developing leaders in the seniors housing and care industry and expand its influence in the field.

"We are very excited and fortunate to have received this generous gift from one of the recognized leaders of the senior living industry," said Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president of UMBC. In 1983, Mr. Erickson created an award-winning retirement community from an abandoned college campus in Maryland. Its success made it the prototype for other such communities across the country. Today, Erickson Retirement Communities has 13 retirement communities in eight states that are home to nearly 13,000 people.

A strong proponent of the new school, Dr. Hrabowski will be actively involved in its development. "We have great ambitions for this initiative," he added. "We will be training tomorrow's leaders in the field of seniors housing and care, and focusing on key policy questions of aging, including Medicare and Medicaid system funding and other seniors-related issues."

To help develop the school, Dr. Morton I. Rapoport, former head of the University of Maryland Medical System, will lead the Erickson-UMBC partnership. Under Dr. Rapoport's direction, the University of Maryland Hospital was transformed from a public institution with aging facilities and millions of dollars in annual losses to a modern and financially successful private, non-profit organization with six hospitals, a revenue base of $1.2 billion and 10,000 employees. Among his greatest achievements was a capital improvement program of more than $1 billion over 20 years, resulting in outstanding, state-of-the-art hospital facilities and programs.

The Erickson School's first offering will be non-credit Executive Development courses in the fall of 2004 at UMBC. Helping to develop and lead the Executive Development component of the school will be the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industries (NIC). Since 1991, this nonprofit organization has been the leading source of business and financial information for the senior living industry. For the last five years, it has conducted Executive Development courses for emerging industry leaders, including courses in operations, management, sales, marketing, development, finance and service quality.

"John Erickson's leadership, vision and commitment to the senior living industry are truly to be admired," said Robert G. Kramer, president of NIC, which is headquartered in Annapolis, Md. "Many future leaders will benefit from his generosity, which will help to ensure that they get the same professional training as their counterparts in other fields."

For more information about the Executive Development courses at The Erickson School at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, contact NIC at (410) 267-0504.Media Contact for Erickson Retirement Communities: Mel Tansill, (410) 402-2006

Posted by dwinds1 at April 29, 2004 12:00 AM