Fran­chot presents WC with Bright Lights award

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By DORIAN MITCHELL dmitchell@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — Mary­land Comptroller Peter Fran­cot awarded Wash­ing­ton Col­lege with the 2017 Bright Lights Award for In­no­va­tion and En­trepreneur­ship dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion Mon­day, in recog­ni­tion of the col­lege’s ini­tia­tives to make ed­u­ca­tion more af­ford­able and to lessen stu­dent debt.

“Wash­ing­ton Col­lege is a gem of an in­sti­tu­tion,” Fran­chot told those gath­ered, who ranged from col­lege em­ploy­ees to lo­cal of­fi­cials, in the sky­box above the col­lege’s Roy Kirby Jr. Field. “The state of Mary­land is re­ally lucky that we have you as an as­set.”

Joe Holt, di­rec­tor of in­sti­tu­tional giv­ing for the Office of Col­lege Ad­vance­ment, said the Dam the Debt, Saver’s Schol­ar­ship, Ge­orge’s Bri­gade and the Fixed4Four ini­tia­tives all are “in­no­va­tive pro­grams de­signed to ad­dress the twin chal­lenges of ac­cess and af­ford­abil­ity” for stu­dents and fam­i­lies.

The Dam the Debt pro- gram is de­signed to help grad­u­at­ing stu­dents by re­duc­ing their fed­er­ally sub­si­dized loan debt, while Saver’s Schol­ar­ship matches the amount that fam­i­lies con­trib­ute from a 529 col­lege sav­ings plan or an ed­u­ca­tional sav­ings ac­count — up to $2,500 a year — to pay for their stu­dent’s tu­ition.

Ge­orge’s Bri­gade pro­vides full tu­ition, fees, room and board for high-achiev­ing and first-gen­er­a­tion stu­dents in need.

These three ini­tia­tives were launched by for­mer WC pres­i­dent She­lia Bair.

When started, Fixed4Four is ex­pected to freeze tu­ition rates for fresh­men over the course of their four years at col­lege.

“I’m proud to work in an in­sti­tu­tion that is tack­ling these chal­lenges head-on and fig­ur­ing out strate­gies for the fu­ture,” Holt said.

Fran­chot pre­sented Holt with a Comptroller’s Medal­lion for his more than 25 years of ser­vice to Wash­ing­ton Col­lege. The medal­lions are given to those who make a dif­fer­ence in their com­mu­ni­ties.

Fran­chot de­vel­oped the Bright Lights Award, which is given to one win­ner from each of the state’s 24 ju­ris­dic­tions for busi­ness and non­profit lead­ers and or­ga­ni­za­tions, to “salute the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit of tens of thou­sands of busi­nesses in Mary­land.”

“Since its found­ing, Wash­ing­ton Col­lege has of­fered a rig­or­ous lib­eral arts ed­u­ca­tion for Mary­lan­ders, as well

as stu­dents from around the globe and na­tion,” Fran­chot said. “By mak­ing col­lege more af­ford­able, Wash­ing­ton Col­lege helps stu­dents ev­ery­where re­ceive and ac­cess a high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and grad­u­ate with a bet­ter abil­ity to save and con­trib­ute to the econ­omy.”

He cred­ited all those in­volved with the ini­tia­tives like Bair, for her role in spear­head­ing the col­lege’s af­ford­abil­ity cam­paign.

“Our state has a thriv­ing com­mu­nity of en­trepreneurs and in­no­va­tors. ... You’ve launched three suc­cess­ful ini­tia­tives so far,” Fran­chot said. “I couldn’t be hap­pier to be here to­day to present this to Wash­ing­ton Col­lege.

Hand­ing the award to Pres­i­dent Kurt Land­graf, Fran­chot said he was de­lighted the new pres­i­dent — who has been in his role for three months — was “at the helm” of the col­lege. He also gave Land­graf a Comptroller’s Medal­lion and a cer­tifi­cate of recog­ni­tion for the col­lege.

Land­graf said it was an honor to re­ceive the award and the cer­tifi­cate. He thanked the col­lege’s staff, fac­ulty, stu­dents and alumni for mak­ing Wash­ing­ton Col­lege what it is to­day.

“We think the re­cent ini­tia­tives ini­ti­ated ... are not only good for our stu­dents and par­ents, but also good for Wash­ing­ton Col­lege. We think it’s good for the state of Mary­land too,” Land­graf said. “It’s some­thing to think about for our coun­try. ... We are $1.7 tril­lion in stu­dent debt. Some­thing has to be done about that.”

PHOTO BY DORIAN MITCHELL

Wash­ing­ton Col­lege Pres­i­dent Kurt Land­graf, left, and Mary­land Comptroller Peter Fran­chot pose for a pho­to­graph Mon­day, dur­ing an award pre­sen­ta­tion. Fran­chot gave the 2017 Bright Lights Award for In­no­va­tion and En­trepreneur­ship to the col­lege, for its ini­tia­tives to make ed­u­ca­tion more af­ford­able and lessen stu­dent debt.

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