Eckardt and Beatty are Pride of the Peake
WYE MILLS — Chesapeake College sets aside a special night once a year to honor alumni and friends who have had a significant impact in the community and on the college.
This year the college honored Maryland state Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore and Easton businessman Scott Beatty, as the “Pride of the Peake” on Thursday, April 28.
The Pride of the Peake celebration has been going on each year since 2011, with two notables inducted into a hall of fame each year.
Eckardt, said she came to Maryland in the early days of Chesapeake College.
Eckardt, her husband and three young children lived in Texas. They lost everything in a hurricane, she said.
They had been working in a Christian ministry and friends that were part of the same ministry in Maryland offered to take them in, she said.
At first they considered moving to Columbia, but found relocation in Cambridge a lot easier.
“And we found a wonderful group of believers when we got here and we started praying about what we should do,” she said. “Be careful what you pray for.”
“We didn’t have enough money,” Eckardt said. “A friend said get a job at the Eastern Shore mental hospital.” She said she had three small children at home.
Eckardt went to work at the hospital and found she really liked it. She decided to become a nurse, and the closest place to train for nursing was an allied health combination of the MacQueen Gibbs Willis School of Nursing, the Memorial Hospital at Easton and Chesapeake College.
Eckardt said she had fond memories of that first nursing class, meeting people from Tilghman Island and some who had grown up in Cambridge. She said many of them were going back to school after being homemakers. She had not been in school for four or five years, she said.
“Five or six members of that first class went on to get higher degrees,” she said. “Master’s degrees and above. And that was so instrumental to me because it opened the door for where I am today.”
Eckardt became a registered nurse and worked as a psychiatric nurse at the Eastern Shore Hospital Center in Dorchester County.
She eventually got bachelor’s and master’s degrees and has been an adjunct faculty member at Salisbury University and the University of Maryland.
Eckardt was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1994, where she was the Dorchester representative in District 37B. Since then she has won re-election a few times and been defeated a few times as a Maryland state delegate.
In 2014 she moved from the House of Delegates after being elected to represent the Mid-Shore in the Maryland Senate.
Eckardt received the Recognition Award, for school funding and public health education from the Maryland Association of Counties in 2015.
“God bless you Chesapeake College on your 50 years and all of you out there attached to the college for so long,” Eckardt said.
Eckardt participated in the opening of the new state-of-the-art Health Professions and Athletics Center at Chesapeake College last year.
The new 100,000 squarefoot building is larger than the four buildings that were previously used, put together. It cost $37 million. About 400 students are studying health professions, including nursing.
“God bless you for that wonderful new building,” Eckardt said. “(And for) transforming people and sending them back into the community. God bless you Dr. Viniar and thank you for your vision. Without vision the people perish. You have the guts to make it happen.”
Beatty, the second honoree, is president and chief executive officer of Shore Bancshares Inc., a $1.1 billion financial holding company headquartered in Easton.
Beatty has been a certified practicing accountant for 25 years, and worked at Talbot Bank beginning in 1992. In 2000, he joined Shore Bancshares Inc. serving as executive vice president, chief operating officer and director before taking his current position.
Beatty said both he and his wife Nancy took courses at Chesapeake College in its early days, and Nancy played on the college’s volleyball team. Chesapeake College celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
“For those of you who knew me back in my college days, you will know I was pretty well-traveled when it came to colleges,” he joked. “However that was the early 70s and there was a lot to do and see.”
He said eventually he graduated from what is now Salisbury University, but he and his wife had come to value from personal experience the opportunity to get a great education here on the Mid-Shore.
“Clearly we see the value of Chesapeake College every day at Shore Bancshares,” Beatty said. He said a number of his staff members at Shore Bancshares have trained at Chesapeake and continue to do so as technology advances.
The workforce and nontraditional training the college offers is vital to the community, he said, launching such careers as nursing, truck driving and welding.
“And they just added a two-year agricultural program,” he said.
Beatty’s volunteer work covers a wide variety of community interests. He currently serves as director on the boards of the Chesapeake Conservancy, Salisbury University School of Business and the nonprofit Integrace.
He has been a volunteer for environmental organizations such at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Waterfowl Festival Inc. and Ducks Unlimited.
He enjoys woodworking and has donated handcrafted wooden bowls to community organizations made from fallen Eastern Shore trees.
Beatty said that lately he has gotten involved in trying to influence public policy, specifically in the areas of conservation and education.
“I realize I don’t have the temperament for politics,” he said. “However I am currently a member of the Talbot County Economic Development Commission.”
Major roles of the commission include retaining existing businesses and identifying, recruiting and assisting the relocation of new businesses to Talbot County, he said.
Beatty said the first question potential business owners usually ask is about how large the workforce is and what skills they have. The second question, he said, is how good are the schools.
“It became clear that the Mid-Shore can no longer rely on real estate as the primary economic driver,” he said, adding that the attraction of new industries is key.
“In order to do that, we have to provide the talents that those potential businesses require,” Beatty said.
He concluded the role of Chesapeake College will become increasingly important in the coming years.
“Thank you for this honor,” he said, “And thank you to the administration and faculty for the amazing service this college provides.”
In the tradition of Pride of the Peake, part of the evening’s entertainment was a showing of short biographical videos of the honorees, interviewing friends and colleagues and produced by Chesapeake College.
Along with their Pride of Peake awards, both Beatty and Eckardt received citations from the Maryland General Assembly, Gov. Larry Hogan and U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st.
Pride of the Peake is sponsored by the Chesapeake College Alumni and Friends Association. Proceeds are used to support the Alumni Scholarship Fund.
Businessman Lloyd L. “Scott” Beatty Jr., from left, and Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore, receive awards as ‘Pride of the Peake’ on April 28 at Chesapeake College. College President Dr. Barbara Viniar made the presentations.