Bricks at CSM honor loved ones, service
The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) hosted brick recognition ceremonies this spring at the Leonardtown Campus, celebrating the legacy represented by five newly dedicated bricks that have been added to the walkway in front of the Wellness, Fitness and Aquatics Center, and at the Prince Frederick Campus, where three bricks were added in front of the John E. Harms Academic Center.
“The CSM Foundation Brick Program provides both a way to memorialize and pay tribute to loved ones and members of the community who are our true champions,” CSM President Brad Gottfried said to the friends, supporters, family members and college employees gathered for the Leonardtown event in April.
The bricks were purchased through the CSM Foundation by family members and friends. All proceeds from the program support CSM Foundation programs and scholarships with the greatest needs, according to a news release.
One of the five Leonardtown bricks honors Mary Washington, longtime member of the St. Mary’s County Board of Education and education advocate. Washington, who was present at the event, was noted as the first African-American woman elected to office in St. Mary’s County as a board of education member in 1996.
The remaining four bricks at the Leonardtown Campus were placed in memoriam.
A brick for Eric T. Askins, a 2016 graduate of Great Mills High School and student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, was offered by his parents, Laura and Joseph Askins. Eric Askins received his driver’s education training and lifeguard training certificate at CSM. His two favorite things in life were driving and lifeguarding. He is survived by his parents and a brother, Travis.
A brick was placed in memory of Dan C. Darney by his sister, Susan Trossbach. The youngest of six children, he graduated from Great Mills High School in 1979. He worked in nurseries and on ships from the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship. He also worked as a painter, starting a painting company that he co-owned with his brother, Fred. He is remembered as a hard worker who loved sports. He is survived by three sisters.
CSM staff member Beverley Russell sponsored a brick for Roland and Eva Higgs, describing the couple as “salt of the earth” people who selflessly helped others. The couple raised five biological children and a multitude of others, including Eva Higgs’ younger brothers and some nieces and nephews and other “strays” that “just seemed to end up on the farm.”
The couple later transitioned to caring for the elderly, working with the Department of Social Services and taking in those who were “unplaceable” or had special health needs. Roland Higgs died from Lou Gehrig’s disease in the early 1970s, and Eva Higgs died in the mid-1990s.
A brick was placed in memory of Dennis “Scott” Mattingly by CSM staff members Toni Kruszka and Maureen Rotto-Coar, who were friends of Scott’s parents, Dennis and Debbie Mattingly. He is remembered as caring, lovable and friendly to ever yone he met.
At the Prince Frederick Campus ceremony May 17, bricks were placed to honor Dr. Richard H. Beers, Marcia N. Kent and CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried and his wife, Linda.
Beers retired after 14 years at CSM, where he is credited with increasing interest in the college’s physics program. “He has grown the college’s physics program and courses from seeing those students who avoided Physics I, II and III, to filling all of his classes each semester, including summers,” Gottfried said in the release. Beers created a course “Physics is Phun” to introduce CSM students to STEM and the sciences in general.
Gottfried noted that Beers also supported CSM’s science program financially. “Dr. Beers and his wife Barbara’s generosity has resulted in the Prince Frederick Campus having the best equipped physics lab in all of Southern Maryland, rivaling those at major universities,” he said in the release.
A brick was placed to honor Kent, who works in the Administrative Business Office at the Prince Frederick Campus. “She always has a smile and a hug for those in need,” Gottfried said. “This brick was donated in recognition of her dedication, continued support and years of ser vice to the College of Southern Maryland and its students.”
The third brick from the Prince Frederick ceremony honored the Gottfrieds. CSM Vice President and Dean of the Prince Frederick Campus Dr. Richard Fleming offered remarks about the couple’s impact on the college as Dr. Gottfried prepares to retire.
“He is known in our Southern Maryland community for advancing the college and the many partnerships he has created to help our students, businesses and community,” Fleming said, noting that the Gottfrieds have supported the college financially with an annual and an endowed scholarships fund and a recent pledge of a $100,000 deferred gift as part of their living trust.
“Dr. Gottfried has been able to establish more than 50 guaranteed articulation agreements with colleges and universities. In addition, Dr. Gottfried’s vision of a centrally located campus has been realized with the opening of the Regional Hughesville Campus its first building, the new center for Trades and Energy Training,” Fleming said in the release.
Individuals can have personalized bricks placed for a $200 donation. For information on the program, go to www.foundation.csmd.edu/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Washington, longtime member of the St. Mary’s County Public School Board, kneels beside the brick dedicated in her name at CSM’s Leonardtown Campus.
CSM President Brad Gottfried and his wife, Linda Gottfried, stand behind the brick dedicated in their name at the Prince Frederick Campus.