Higher education teachers honored in Hagerstown

October 24, 2008

HAGERSTOWN -- Several teachers in higher education received high praise on Friday.

Six colleges and universities with classes in Hagerstown honored outstanding faculty members at the first Academic Excellence in Higher Education Awards.

At Duffy's on Potomac in Hagerstown, teachers more accustomed to recognizing their best students instead were the recipients of kind words and gifts.

They included Ed Gift, an adjunct faculty member in history and sociology at Hagerstown Community College for 35 years. That makes him the longest-serving adjunct the college has had, HCC President Guy Altieri said.


Carolyn Souder, a faculty member in Kaplan College's health information management program, is known by colleagues as a professional with high standards, President W. Christopher Motz said.

At Towson University's nursing program in Hagerstown, Judith Breitenbach is "a nurturing force and an excellent role model," said Jacquelyn Jordan, the nursing department chairwoman.

Susan Blankenship, a professor of forensic and criminal justice at University of Maryland University College, was described as "an absolute treasure" by William Sondervan, the college's director of criminal justice, investigative forensics and legal studies.

The keynote speaker for the event was Christopher Falkenhagen, the director of communications for the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Four of the six schools that honored faculty members have degree programs at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown campus. The other two have their own local campuses.

Brien J. Poffenberger, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, which helped put on the event, told the audience that the USM-H campus has "broad community support."

Altieri said the higher education awards dinner is "the first of what I hope will be many, many years" of recognizing excellence.


Those honored at Friday's Academic Excellence in Higher Education Awards were:

  • Frostburg State University -- Ronald Ingram and Thomas Ingram, lecturers in educational professions

  • Hagerstown Community College -- Connie Devilbiss, professor of sociology; and Ed Gift, adjunct faculty in history and sociology

  • Kaplan College -- Carolyn Souder, faculty member in the health information management program

  • Salisbury University -- Marvin Tossey, professor and social work department chair; and Cynthia L. Wingate, social work satellite program coordinator

  • Towson University -- Judith Breitenbach, nursing programs director at University System of Maryland at Hagerstown and adult nursing professor; Kathi Lynn Pendleton, clinical assistant professor, psychiatric, mental health; and Heidi Stone, clinical assistant professor, maternity

  • University of Maryland University College -- Susan Blankenship, professor of forensic and criminal justice

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