Gottfried ushered in era of growth for College of Southern Maryland
Community leaders reflect on president’s impact on region
Since he was a child, College of Southern Maryland President Brad Gottfried said he’s been haunted by an image of himself in a rocking chair, near the end of his days, looking back to see what he’d accomplished over his life.
“I asked myself, would it be a life worth living? Would it be a life with fulfillment, or would it be a life filled with regret?” Gottfried said. “That image is still there — it compels you and puts a lot of pressure on a person.”
To many, however, Gottfried has already contributed greatly to Southern Maryland and made a lasting contribution to education and the communities of Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties.
During his 11 years as leader of CSM, the college has continued to grow. Enrollment has increased from 21,386 students in 2006-07 to 24,651 in 201516, and each graduating class has been the largest in the school’s history.
Michael Chiaramonte, past president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, said Gottfried has worked to expand access to higher education.
“Expanding access is such a big deal, and he did that the traditional way: through brick and mortar,” Chiaramonte said. “He’s also increased access online.”
The Leonardtown cam-
pus expanded with a Wellness and Aquatics Center in 2010. “It’s been a great asset to the Leonardtown area,” said Randy Guy, president of the St. Mary’s County commissioners.
The Prince Frederick campus expanded to open a second building, the first to meet LEED-certification standards.
Tom Hejl, president of the Calvert County Board of Commissioners, said the expansion of the Prince Frederick campus has improved the educational opportunities for young people in Calvert County.
“We have a stellar community college in our county. That’s a huge plus for our kids and we really appreciate it,” Hejl (R) said.
In 2014, the college purchased land in Hughesville for the building of a new fourth campus, to be centrally located among all three Southern Maryland counties. That campus opened its first building, the Center for Trades and Energy Training, this year.
Having a center for trades in Southern Maryland is a “game changer,” Hejl said.
“The Center for Trades and Energy Training was greatly needed, and I thank Dr. Gottfried for that,” Hejl said. “The fact that this well-respected, very intelligent man recognized that we need a trade school, was a really huge deal.”
“The trades center in Hughesville is a plus-plus,” Guy (R) said.
Gottfried faced pressure to locate the new campus in Waldorf or expand the La Plata campus, but prevailed in his view of a regional campus in Hughesville that would serve all of Southern Maryland.
“That was really visionary on his part,” said Board of Charles County Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy (D). “He was committed to make it a regional campus, and that location was very important to his vision. Putting it between the three counties was very important and really lends itself to future sustainability.”
Gottfried said it was important to get past the politics of the decision and focus on developing a truly regional college.
“Every county and all the commissioners have supported this idea of a regional campus,” Gottfried said. “To me it was the perfect spot, so we took the politics out of it. It’s something I’m proud of because it was the right thing to do.”
Guy said Gottfried worked to form lines of communication with the St. Mary’s community. “He’s always been very responsive to us in terms of workforce needs, and he’s worked with local businesses in developing course options and programs,” Guy said.
Chiaramonte said Gottfried has really looked for ways to meet the needs of regional employers.
“Dr. Brad Gottfried is a transformative leader in Southern Maryland and has led the College of Southern Maryland through a prolific period of growth and excellence,” Chiaramonte said. “He doesn’t just stay within academia, he said, ‘I’ve got to go where my students are employed.’”
Chiaramonte said Gottfried arranged for nursing students to do their practicums at his hospital, which benefited all parties.
“By setting up these nurse practicums with Southern Maryland Hospital, we hired about 40 percent of them,” Chiaramonte said.
Reaching out to the energy industry led to the development of the Center for Nuclear Energy Training on the Prince Frederick campus in 2010.
“He’s very brilliant at connecting academia to real-life jobs,” Chiaramonte said.
Reuben “Jay” Lilly, owner of Coldwell Banker-Jay Lilly Real Estate in Waldorf, is in his 10th year on the board of directors for the CSM Foundation, the college’s nonprofit fundraising arm. Lilly said Gottfried has also expanded opportunities for students continuing their education and four-year institutions.
Lilly noted that the college’s articulation agreements with other academic institutions, which allow students to transfer seamlessly to other colleges with all of their credit hours intact, has increased by 60 under Gottfried’s leadership. Gottfried has also reached out to form connections with schools in Southern Maryland.
“We have regular meetings with representatives from the college,” said Kimberly Hill, superintendent of Charles County’s public schools. “We have developed a very productive, positive relationship. We’re able to talk and brainstorm and think about how we can bridge the gap between K through 12 and college education.”
Hill said Gottfried has worked to expand access for students through expansion of dual-enrollment programs and also through Access CSM,
College of Southern Maryland President Bradley Gottfried was the guest speaker at CSM’s 58th spring commencement May 18.