CSM Foundation Matches $500,000 to Create Velocity Center in Indian Head
The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) has the opportunity to take a significant step forward in its role as a regional leader in innovation and technology workforce development.
Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford visited CSM’s Leonardtown Campus Aug. 2 to announce that CSM, along with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Commerce, have endowed a total of $8.6 million in three new research professorships.
The endowments were made through the state’s Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI), a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at the state’s colleges and universities. CSM is the first community college to receive this prestigious award.
“The College of Southern Maryland is honored to be among the three institutions in Maryland to be awarded this endowed matching fund,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy. “These funds will allow the college to create a more sustainable and vibrant innovation ecosystem through public-private partnerships that support and impact the critical and innovative research being conducted at the Navy research labs in Southern Maryland. The Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute will not only support technology transfer initiatives, but will also enhance the regional and state economic and workforce development expansion.”
Through the MEI, CSM received $500,000 to support the college’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute (EII) and the expertise required to expand CSM’s technology transfer curriculum; research and identify regional technology transfer opportunities; instill entrepreneurial skills among students, government scientists and businesses; and expand the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and workforce.
“This is truly transformational,” Murphy said. “It says something. This is our time in Southern Maryland.”
The funding will be used by CSM to attract and retain world-class instructors to grow the current innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem at a newly envisioned Velocity Center. CSM’s Velocity Center will provide resources for a variety of activities related to entrepreneurship, innovation and workforce development and retention. The initial facility will grow to be 20,000-plus square feet, with space suitable for a prototyping facility, classrooms, open space, offices, conference rooms, room for co-working space and other amenities.
The idea of the Velocity Center aligns with the strategic plans of the region’s naval bases — Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC/IHEODTD), the Naval Air Warfare center – Aircraft Division (NAWC/AD), the Chesapeake Bay Detachment of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory — and the State of Maryland Economic Development Commission and Southern Maryland Economic Development plan.
“The MEI program leverages private funds raised by our very active foundation board,” explained Vice President and Executive Director of the CSM Foundation Michelle Goodwin. “In this case our largest contributor being Michael Chiaramonte, president and chairman of ProFlex Physical Therapy among other business ventures. The money will be endowed by the CSM Foundation and the interest earned will support the EII and its Velocity Center initiative.”
“The Velocity Center will serve a purpose for attracting students but also world-class professors. The goal is to bring in more scholars to the school and the surrounding area,” EII Director Tommy Luginbill said.
The vision for the center is to give CSM students the opportunity to take courses in a world-class facility surrounded by some of the brightest research scientists in the country. “This will give students a chance to see how their skills can be applied outside the classroom and open their eyes to opportunities that exist here in Southern Maryland,” Luginbill said. “We plan on building a robotics practice course where the CSM Talons [the college’s competitive robotics team] can hold showcases for teams all around the country.”
“Maryland boasts some of the top academic institutions in the world,” Rutherford said in his announcement about the MEI funding. “We are proud to support the groundbreaking work these schools are doing, from drug discovery research to cybersecurity, to ensure both our local businesses and our residents are the first to benefit from these inspiring academic achievements.”
“The College of Southern Maryland, Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, College Park are significant economic drivers for the entire state of Maryland,” said Commerce Secretary Mike Gill in a press announcement. “The research they conduct and the bright young minds they nurture fuel Maryland’s economy and keep our state on the cutting edge of technology and discovery. We are proud to partner with these institutions and look forward to seeing the fruits of the professorships for years to come.”
Johns Hopkins University received $1 million from the MEI, which will be used for the Charles Glenn Grover Estate for Advanced Muscular Degeneration to further explore drug therapies for advanced muscular degeneration. The University of Maryland, College Park received $2.1 million for the Capital One Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Science, which will support cybersecurity, machine learning and data analytics research.
Lt. Governor Tours Upgraded Robotics, Electrical Labs; Meets One of F3 Challenge Designers
Earlier in the afternoon, before the MEI announcement, Rutherford toured CSM’s new robotics and electrical labs that have been updated through funding received by Dominion Energy. Assistant Professor Byron Brezina with CSM’s Math, Physics and Engineering Division led the tour.
Brezina described CSM’s connections with Dominion Energy, noting the internships and hiring opportunities there, as well as other CSM partnerships with the region’s Navy research labs, connections that will be strengthened through the development of the Velocity Center in Indian Head.
The CSM labs that Rutherford toured support the college’s redesigned Engineering Technology AAS program. The program prepares CSM students for technician careers in a broad range of fields. Many CSM students are being hired for drafting positions by contractors for Patuxent River Naval Air Station and area construction firms, with these employers expressing high satisfaction with their CSM hires, Brezina said.
The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided $20.1 million in funding to leverage $23 million in private donations. The funding can be used to pay salaries of newly endowed department chairs, staff, and support personnel in designated scientific and technical fields of study; fund related research fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students; and purchase lab equipment and other basic infrastructure and equipment.
For information about CSM’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute, visit http://www.csmd.edu/community/institutes/eii/.
To view the photos from the announcement, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/rutherfordvisit.