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He says university's in 'transition'

March 15, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Frostburg State University's enrollment is the lowest it has been in about 17 years, university president Jonathan Gibralter said Wednesday.

Gibralter, who joined Frostburg last year, came to Hagerstown to discuss plans to increase enrollment, and he spoke with The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, toured the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown campus and talked with editors at The Herald-Mail.

He called this year one of "transition" for the university.

"We're hoping in two to three years to up enrollment by 500 students," Gibralter said.

The school now has about 4,250 undergraduate students and 658 graduate students. More than 300 of those students attend the University System of Maryland campus, which has a total of 350 students from several universities.

An effort to let people know about the benefits of higher education and what Frostburg has to offer will drive that increase, he said.

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"We're just a really well-kept secret," he said.

Enrollment has decreased over the years due to a combination of factors, including the absence of a person dedicated to enrollment management for the university, he said. Gibralter plans to change that, he said, along with adding personnel in marketing and communications.

"If you don't tell people your story, they just don't know that you're there," he said.

The highest enrollment at Frostburg in the past 17 years was in the fall of 2003, when 5,469 students were enrolled, university spokeswoman Liz Medcalf said.

The most popular programs at the Hagerstown site are the master's of education, master's of business education and undergraduate business administration, she said.

A new early childhood development bachelor's program will be added in September, Gibralter said. He toured the Hagerstown site for the first time Wednesday and called the facility "beautiful," touting its technology enhanced classrooms.

The main Frostburg campus also has several large projects in the works, he said.

Site work has begun at the Allegany Business Center at the university. Technology-oriented enterprises will be the target tenants for the projected 50,000 square feet of office space, and Gibralter said that InfoSpherix will be the first to move into the business park. The company is in Cumberland, Md.

Gibralter was president of a state university in New York for five years before joining Frostburg State University.




Frostburg in Hagerstown



· More than 300 students

· Most popular programs include the master's of education, master's of business education and undergraduate business administration

· New early childhood development bachelor's program will be added in September

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