During her Spring Convocation remarks, Frostburg State University President Dr. Catherine R. Gira announced her retirement effective June 30, 2006.
“The past fourteen years have been years of change and of progress,” said Gira, who become president of FSU on Sept. 1, 1991.
Gira addressed a group of FSU faculty, staff and students who gathered in the campus Performing Arts Center Tuesday afternoon to hear her reflective Convocation remarks entitled “The Little College that Could: A Fable for our Time.”
“Our campus facilities have grown; academic programs have expanded in breadth and quality; the respect accorded our institution by state policy makers at the executive and legislative levels has increased; the assets in our Foundation and in the Common Trust have grown from a little over $1 million to more than $13 million; our student population is larger and more diverse; our faculty is comprised of excellent teacher-scholars; and our role as a vital partner in community service and economic development has never been stronger,” the president added.
Prior to joining FSU, Gira served for nine years as provost at the University of Baltimore. She also previously held the positions of professor of English and acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UB.
“President Gira’s contributions to advancing higher education in Maryland have been extraordinary,” said William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. “Under her highly effective leadership, FSU has flourished. As part of the USM community, Dr. Gira has fostered collaboration among institutions and raised her voice calling for adequate support of higher education. I have benefited greatly from Catherine’s friendship and wise counsel. She is able to set aside parochial issues and look at the broader impact on the entire system. She is indeed a passionate leader of higher education and a wonderful person.”
Gira has held leadership positions in numerous national and state professional associations, including president of the American Association of University Administrators; Federation of State Humanities Councils; commissioner and executive member of the Commission on Higher Education, Middle States Association; chair of the Maryland Humanities Council; and president of the Maryland Association of Higher Education. She has served on several regional and national boards, including those of the Western Maryland Health System, the Rocky Gap Foundation, the Regional Education Service Agency, the Cumberland Theatre, Leadership Maryland and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Gira was recognized as Woman of the Year by the Maryland Legislature in 1993 and one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 1996 and was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
Gira looked ahead to her remaining year at FSU and assured the crowd that she will move forward on upcoming campus initiatives such as the expansion of the Lane University Center, the replacement of Tawes Hall with a $40 million Center for Communications and Instructional Technology and a new capital campaign through the University System of Maryland and the FSU Foundation.
“Let me assure you that the coming year will not be a lame-duck year for your president,” Gira noted. “The future under my successor will provide opportunities for fresh ideas, new perspectives, new energy, and new direction. Whoever that might be, he or she will surely soon recognize that Frostburg State University is the little University that can. I look forward to sharing yet another year with you on its behalf.”