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News Release

Date: July 30, 2009
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970; Marcus Rosano, 240-567-4022

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Montgomery College Hosts Maryland Higher Education Secretary James Lyons
Maryland Cabinet Member Visits Campus During “Capital for a Day”

Attention Editors: For a high resolution image to accompany this release, click here.

With the City of Rockville designated as Maryland’s “Capital for a Day,” Maryland Higher Education Secretary Dr. James E. Lyons visited Montgomery College for a meeting with students, administrators, faculty and staff. Started by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, the “Capital for a Day” program “moves” the capital from Annapolis to cities, towns and communities across the State of Maryland. Dr. Lyons visited Montgomery College last November when the City of Gaithersburg was declared the “Capital for a Day.”

During the day, each of Governor O’Malley’s Cabinet members, which include Dr. Lyons, visited their respective agencies or affiliated institutions. At his Montgomery College meeting, Dr. Lyons reiterated Governor O’Malley’s support of community colleges and discussed President Barack Obama’s American Graduation Initiative, which focuses on providing additional funding to the nation’s community colleges for the purpose of increasing graduates, improving facilities, developing online learning opportunities, and creating innovative programs.

“We are all going through difficult economic times, but we are going to come out of this,” Secretary Lyons explained. “It’s important how we position ourselves coming out of the economic downturn. The good news is that we have a governor and a lieutenant governor who are really strong in their support of community colleges, and who see the importance of community colleges.”

For Dr. Judy Ackerman, vice president and provost of Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus, the visit with Dr. Lyons provided her with a valuable opportunity to showcase the College’s innovative programs and creative solutions to the current economic challenges.

“At Montgomery College, we are excited about the possibilities we have ahead despite the current economic climate,” Dr. Ackerman said. “With the importance of adding new skills and re-training in the workforce, Montgomery College is anticipating a record number of students.”

Dr. Ackerman highlighted Montgomery College’s developmental math program and its partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools and the Universities at Shady Grove. Additional presentations included students Amber Koplow and Dr. Esther Schwartz-McKinzie, director of the Paul Peck Humanities Institute at Montgomery College. The institute and provost discussed infusing museum studies in the curriculum and internships. Koplow was a student intern at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

“This internship has allowed me to pursue a career in the field of zoo management,” said Koplow, who will major in environmental science at the University of Maryland, College Park this fall. “I’m forever grateful for the opportunity.”

Dr. Sanjay Rai, interim vice president and provost, Germantown Campus, presented a short talk about “Engineering a top-notch engineering program at a two-year college.” Professor Rose Sachs, chair of the College’s disability support services, discussed Montgomery College’s Combat2College program, which is designed to ensure that veterans returning to college have a supportive and smooth transition to campus life.  The meeting concluded with Professor Diane Switlick, chair of the Department of Education at Montgomery College, talking about the efforts that the College makes to build the pipeline of future educators.

After his visit to Montgomery College, Dr. Lyons joined the governor at a Cabinet Meeting in Rockville’s Town Square, where he talked about his experiences at Montgomery College.

For general information about Montgomery College, visit

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

NOTE TO EDITORS: The attached photo shows (left to right): Paula Matuskey, Montgomery College interim senior vice president for educational services; Maryland Higher Education Secretary Dr. James Lyons; Dr. Judy Ackerman, vice president and provost of Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus; Dr. Sanjay Rai, interim vice president and provost of Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus; and Dr. Sonya Chiles, Montgomery College chief of staff.

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