ESHEC's Urry recognized for community service
Chesapeake College, already celebrating its 50th anniversary, was lauded as the Not-for-Profit of the Year Thursday night by the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce.
The college is “one of the great institutions we have in our five-county region,” said Steve Ochse, who presented the award on behalf of the Chamber at the organization’s annual awards program. Ochse said the college should be seen as the “first choice” and is often “the best choice” for students seeking transfer credits for four-year institutions, workforce training, or other educational support.
Dr. Barbara Viniar, Chesapeake College’s president, accepted the award “on behalf of all the employees at Chesapeake.”
“I can tell you every one of those employees are constantly asking, ‘How can I make this a better place for students?’ ”said Dr. Viniar.
Both Dr. Viniar and Ochse referenced the college’s new $37 million Health Professions and Athletics Center (HPAC) in their remarks.
“It’s an incredible, first-class facility,” said Ochse, who noted Chesapeake’s critical role in training the region’s health professions workforce.
“If you’ve been in a local medical facility, chances are that person has been trained by Chesapeake College,” said Ochse.
Dr. Viniar noted the HPAC was the “largest construction project in the history of the college” and that the recent ribbon-cutting including a large and enthusiastic crowd. Her favorite part of the building opening, however, came several days later on the first day of classes in the new facility.
“That was an exciting moment,” said Dr. Viniar.
Dr. Viniar said the Chamber’s award was recognition of the college’s role in the community.
“There are students’ lives we change - students who might not have had this educational opportunity were it not for Chesapeake College,” said Dr. Viniar.
Deborah Harrison Urry, executive director of the Easter Shore Higher Education Center that resides on Chesapeake College’s main campus, was honored with the Chamber’s Community Service Award.
Al Silverstein, president and CEO of the Talbot Chamber, called Urry “one of the most dynamic people I’ve met in education” as well as a “person who really makes a difference in the community.” Silverstein particularly noted her work in educational endeavors, citing as an example the Free Enterprise Workshop, where participants visit eight businesses in the region to see the challenges and opportunities in those fields.
Silverstein also lauded Urry’s efforts in keeping the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center operational despite severely limited state funding.
“You can go up to the higher education center and finish a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a doctorate without leaving the Shore,” said Silverstein, noting the center’s many four-year partner institutions.
Urry, a Chesapeake College graduate who is in the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame, said working on the Chesapeake campus “is really special to me.” She also said she obtained her commitment to community service from her parents.
“Receiving this award reminds me that my brother and sister and I learned about how important it was to give back to your community from our parents,” said Urry, whose mother was in the audience.