The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its February General Membership Luncheon on February 19, 2021, on campus at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland. The cold rainy weather did not deter the forty SACC members and local business leaders from coming out to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Lower Shore’s three higher education institutions.
Dr. Charles Wight, President, Salisbury University, Dr. Ray Hoy, President, Wor-Wic College and the luncheon host Dr. Heidi Anderson, President University of Maryland Eastern Shore, discussed budget challenges, enrollment concerns and opportunities that have arisen as a result of the pandemic.
“Our university budget took a 25 million dollar hit but we will have a balanced budget by the end of the year in no small part to the dedication and hard work of the entire University staff, some taking on the role of two full-time positions during this crisis,” commented Dr. Wight.
Wor-Wic Community College president Dr. Ray Hoy noted that last summer projected that fall enrollment could be down by as much as fifty percent.
“Our fall numbers came in at around a ten-percent loss and this spring we are at a 4.8 percent loss, not healthy, but a positive sign nonetheless,” noted Dr. Hoy.
The focus of all three institutions continues to be student health and safety. “Our UMES students continue with weekly testing, which is a requirement to remain on campus. For many of our students, our campus is their home away from home and a very important piece in having a comfortable and safe learning environment,” commented Dr. Anderson.
All three presidents acknowledged the many lessons learned from having to rapidly pivot from an all on-campus learning environment to a hybrid model. That pivot has been successful but all three look forward to the potential for a “normal” fall 2021 semester.
The panel was moderated by Greg Reddell, Greg Reddell State Farm Insurance.
The Chamber’s March General Membership Luncheon will be held at Green Hill Country Club in Quantico Maryland on March 18, 2021 at 11:30 AM. The featured speaker is David Pierce, NASA Wallops Flight Director.
Mr. Pierce will give an update on the recent Antares resupply launch to the International Space Station and what’s next at the NASA Wallops facility, including the upcoming manned mission to the moon!
This will be a socially distanced event and masks are required while not seated. Tickets are $25 for members, $35 for future members. Register at www.salisburyarea.com.