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Summer 2017 | Ventures

Elliot Hirshman

Stevenson is happy to welcome its seventh president, Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D., who started on July 3, 2017.

By Sherry Bithell

Hirshman joins the University after serving as president of San Diego State University (SDSU) since 2011. Under President Hirshman’s leadership, SDSU implemented an integrated budget and financial strategy; raised more than $800 million in private philanthropy for scholarships and new initiatives and programs; and established and endowed its Honors College.

However, this will not be Hirshman’s first time in Baltimore. Prior to his tenure at SDSU, Hirshman served as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Previously, Hirshman was chief research officer at the George Washington University and chaired the Department of Psychology there and at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Hirshman and his wife, Jeri, have been married for nearly 28 years. Jeri is a registered nurse who enjoys participating in local and national film festivals. Their daughter, Wendy, graduated from Muhlenberg College and is now married and living in Northern Virginia. Their son, Nathan, is a student at the Duke University School of Medicine.

To help introduce Hirshman to the broader Stevenson community—alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends—Ventures magazine reached out to learn more about him, his vision, and ways the University will benefit from his extensive higher education experience.

Q&A With Dr. Hirshman, Ph.D.

Hirshman Headshot

Ventures (V): You’re coming from serving as president at a research institution with an enrollment of 33,000-plus students and previously, you were the provost at UMBC, a public university with just under 14,000 students. Stevenson is a more traditional liberal arts institution with an enrollment of 4,100 students. What perspectives do you anticipate bringing to your new role here?

Elliot Hirshman (EH): Let me share two. First is that I focus on all aspects of student development, from personal to professional. If we focus on what Stevenson has to offer each of our students, we can help them achieve their greatest aspirations. Second, I embrace Stevenson’s spirit of collaboration. Everyone at the University helps students excel. All members of the community come together to support students’ holistic development.

V: How do you define a liberal arts education?

EH: I see a liberal arts education as a wonderful opportunity to help students prepare for their lives. Not just their careers, although that is important, but it also helps them develop habits of mind, in terms of written and oral communications, as well as quantitative and qualitative reasoning. When we help our students develop these abilities, we are educating students who will not only contribute to the economy through successful careers but will also help their communities as thought and change leaders.

V: What do you think makes Stevenson distinctive from similar liberal arts institutions?

EH: There’s no question that Stevenson has taken the right approach by integrating a classical liberal arts education with career preparation. The University prepares students for today’s economy while supporting the best traditions of American higher education. This is what students and their families look for when it comes to being prepared for the modern and emerging global workforce.

V: What do you anticipate your first steps will be as you begin your presidency?

EH: The first and most important thing is for me to listen broadly and learn about the campus and the aspirations and goals of the community. Of course, there are always issues that require immediate attention, and I will work collaboratively with members of the community to address these issues.

V: Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of UMBC, commented that you care deeply about students. What are some ways in which Stevenson students will see this firsthand?

EH: Freeman is very gracious to say this and I appreciate it! Students will see a lot of me. I enjoy having lunch with students, hearing their perspectives, and attending athletic and cultural events on campus. Also, I have deep respect for students and I always try to be direct with them in addressing their questions and concerns about campus issues.

V: How do you feel about returning to the Baltimore area?

EH: I’m excited. It is, of course, an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and friends. There’s a saying, “No person ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and they are not the same person.” I fully believe this, so I’m excited about new opportunities given changes since I’ve been here.

V: What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?

EH: In some regards, the ubiquity offered by the internet makes it hard for there to be many surprises. One, however, is that my wife and I are supporters of animals in that we think of them as family members. People will see that I’m very interested in animal welfare. Another thing that people might not know is that I was a student-athlete in high school. I played defensive back for the football team and ran track, so I understand some of the challenges our student-athletes face.

V: What’s the last book you’ve read?

EH: Sol Price: Retail Revolutionary and Social Innovator. Price was the person who came up with the concept of big box stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco. For example, back in the early ‘50s, he was looking at retail stores and thought, what would happen if we only sold 200 products in a grocery store and sold them in bulk? These simple ideas had enormous implications, providing opportunities for much broader distribution of high-quality product. It’s a great example of how a simple set of ideas can change an organization and affect people’s lives.

V: Are there any final comments to the SU community as you begin your tenure as president?

EH: When I was interviewing, Stevenson’s heritage of community, its tradition as a caring community, was very attractive to me. There is so much great work happening here—the integration of career preparation with liberal arts, cultural and artistic events, athletics—that I want to nurture and support. I see Stevenson as a wonderful, diverse community, one where people are friendly, supportive, and really care about each other. I look forward to joining the community.

For more information on President Hirshman's professional, academic, and personal background, click here

Rosewood Signing

On July 6, Governor Larry Hogan came to Stevenson to formally announce the acquisition of the Rosewood property. He was joined by President Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D., as well as Senator Bobby Zirkin.

The sale of the former Rosewood Center property in Owings Mills to Stevenson University was approved by Maryland’s Board of Public Works during its June 7 meeting in Annapolis. Stevenson, per the sales agreement, will use State grants totaling $16 million to complete the environmental abatement and remediation of the Rosewood site before the State transfers the final deed to the property.

Rosewood PropertyMaryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene closed Rosewood in 2009 and declared the property surplus in 2010 after it had served as a state mental health facility since 1888. The vacant buildings and possible environmental contaminants on the site had been the concern of the surrounding community and the District 11 delegation for many years. Stevenson first expressed interest in acquiring the property in 2000 and conducted an environmental survey of the site in 2009-2010.

“I would like to thank the Board of Public Works and the State of Maryland for their support and patience through this lengthy but incredibly important process,” says Tim Campbell, Executive Vice President for Financial Affairs and Chief Financial Officer for Stevenson. “Throughout the years, the State has been an integral part of the success of Stevenson University, supporting many of our expansion and construction projects, and now the acquisition and improvement of the Rosewood property.”

The 117-acre Rosewood site sits adjacent to Stevenson’s existing Owings Mills campus and will nearly double the total acreage of the University. While no final plans for the site have been determined, the agreement calls for Stevenson to use the site for educational purposes. The University’s tentative plans, after completion of environmental cleanup and remediation, include developing new educational facilities and recreational resources for its students and the community.

“I have no doubt that the State, Stevenson, and the community that surrounds our Owings Mills campus all will benefit from turning this dilapidated parcel of land into a vibrant, beautiful site for education and athletics,” Campbell says. “Our President Emeritus Kevin J. Manning saw the potential for this site more than a decade ago. But this would not have moved along to this point without the support of local community leaders and organizations, Senator Bobby Zirkin, and our District 11 Delegates as well as Senator Ed DeGrange and Delegate Adrienne Jones.”

“I’ve grown up here and I remember when the Owings Mills campus was a massive mound of dirt, and now look at it—it’s incredible. It’s one of the best things going in the area. I’m just proud to be a tiny part of it.”

Zirkin, who promoted this sale for 17 years, explains his dedication to making it happen. “To take a campus with Rosewood’s history and turn it into something wonderful for the community is a great thing. The idea of helping Stevenson double the size of their campus is a benefit not just to the University but also to the local community. They’ve really turned this into a college town, and businesses in the area are thriving in part because of Stevenson.”

He, too, notes his appreciation for the support of several individuals. “To me, this move was always the right fit, and I thank President Emeritus Manning and Tim Campbell for sticking with it. Our governors also deserve credit: Martin O’Malley made sure that Stevenson was the sole-source bid and during my first meeting with Governor Larry Hogan, he committed to this and helped make it happen.”

The matter is also personal for Zirkin. “I’ve grown up here and I remember when the Owings Mills campus was a massive mound of dirt, and now look at it—it’s incredible,” he says. “It’s one of the best things going in the area. I’m just proud to be a tiny part of it.”

James B. Stradtner, Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, says, “We are committed to making Stevenson and its future development of the Rosewood property assets that enhance our surrounding community and the State of Maryland. The acquisition of the Rosewood property marks yet another historic milestone in the growth of Stevenson University.

Dell Family Pathway

Students use the Dell Family Pathway to conveniently travel between Owings Mills and Owings Mills North.

Dell Family PathwayThe Dell Family Pathway, named in honor of Trustee Samuel M. Dell, III, and his family, is open for students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Stevenson community to commute on foot between Owings Mills and Owings Mills North.

The wooden pedestrian bridge, which crosses the Gwynns Falls Floodplain and environmental areas, is 586 feet long and 12 feet wide, and rises at one point to a height of 25 feet. The bridge features extensive lighting, blue emergency phones that connect directly to Campus Security, and two viewing platforms.

The two ends can be found past the sand volleyball courts on Owings Mills and in the parking lot adjacent to the Manning Academic Center on Owings Mills North. For a quick view of what it will be like to cross the pathway, click here.

Corey Ott

Campus Compact announced that Stevenson junior Cory Ott is one of two students nationwide to earn a full scholarship to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute’s Leadership and the American Presidency (LATP) program for Fall 2017.

“I feel incredibly honored to be rewarded this scholarship and opportunity. I am looking forward to meeting other peer leaders from around the country and learning from elected officials in D.C.”

Ott was recently named a Campus Compact 2017 Newman Civic Fellow for his demonstrated commitment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Each year, Campus Compact collaborates with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute to provide scholarships to Newman Civic Fellows for the institute’s LATP program, aimed at developing the next generation of citizen leaders.

“I feel incredibly honored to be rewarded this scholarship and opportunity,” said Ott, a native of Bordentown, NJ. “I am looking forward to meeting other peer leaders from around the country and learning from elected officials in Washington, D.C. Everyone is going to be coming from very different backgrounds, so I am interested in listening to everyone’s story.”

Ott is extensively involved on campus, holding many leadership positions. As Director of Philanthropy for the University’s Student Government Association, Ott works tirelessly to combat the issues of hunger, illness, and pollution in the Baltimore area. Ott is a member of Relay for Life and the University’s Mission: I’m Home organization that works to rebuild and repair homes damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.

Ott will spend the Fall 2017 semester in the nation’s capital. During his time in Washington, D.C., Ott will hear from real leaders in the fields of business, government, and the nonprofit sectors. He will learn lessons on leadership, while simultaneously applying all of these skills in the real world and in authentic course assignments.

Integrated Marketing Communication Conference

Leeanne Bell McManus Ph.D., Professor of Business Communication, presented her research at the biannual Integrated Marketing Communication conference held June 1-3 at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Wilmington. The theme of the conference is “Integrated Marketing Communication and Popular Culture,” which explored how Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) provides frameworks and opportunities for engaging popular culture.

Bell McManus presented “The Influence of Pop Culture on Event Planning: An IMC Approach” as part of a panel concerned with the philosophy and rhetoric of IMC and popular culture.

Devonte Williams

Devante WilliamsSenior Devonte Williams capped off his standout four-year career with the men’s track and field program as he recorded a pair of top-five finishes at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships at SPIRE Institute that took place in May. Williams finished fifth in the 100-meter dash, then followed up with a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash.

With his finishes, Williams earned All-America status in both events and concludes his career, including indoor and outdoor, as a four-time All- American. Williams recorded a program record time of 21.07 seconds in the 200-meter dash, shaving a quarter-second off his previous career-best. Williams finished 0.22 seconds behind 2016 NCAA indoor champion Parker Witt of Wisconsin-Whitewater and just 0.01 seconds behind Jeremiah Davis of Greenville for second. Williams finished fourth in the 200 in this year's NCAA indoor championship and was seventh in the event at the 2015 NCAA outdoor meet.

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