A newsletter for Foundation directors and friends of higher education in Maryland

Letter from the President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


One pillar of the USM Foundation's mission is to support the advancement of public higher education, and that includes professional development opportunities as well as campaign support, board member training, and research needs. We recently held two very well-attended investment related programs. One provided development officers with an overview of our investment operation to help them cultivate, steward, and manage relationships with major gift donors. The other offered our investment clients and partners an opportunity to engage with our strategic investment partners, fund managers, and staff to learn about the innovations taking place here at the USM Foundation. I think it is safe to say all attendees left with a better understanding of how the Foundation's portfolio is managed and the work we do here on a daily basis.


I also wanted to highlight the important work the USM has undertaken in finding the very best candidates to lead our wonderful schools. Towson University and Frostburg State University have initiated presidential searches, and I am certain we will find excellent candidates to lead our schools. Meanwhile, Dr. Maria Thomas was just appointed president of Coppin State University, and will be joining us on July 1 - more details can be found below. 


As we head into summer, we will focus on our own transition plans as incoming Chancellor Bob Caret joins us. Taking a fresh look at our service to USM institutions will also take priority. 


I wish you an enjoyable and productive summer. As always, please contact me at raley@usmd.edu or 301-445-1941 with any questions or comments.




Leonard R. Raley

March 2015 Investment Office Update

March was a turbulent month for stocks, bonds and commodities. Shifting expectations surrounding the timing and pace of the Federal Reserve's expected rate hikes, the stronger U.S. dollar and a potential Chinese slowdown created an environment of heightened volatility across virtually all asset classes. However, sentiment improved in the latter part of the month following Federal Reserve Chairman Yellen's comments surrounding "gradual" interest rate increases. Nonetheless, the global equity markets struggled in March, giving back part of their strong gains from February. The MSCI All Country World Index declined 1.6%.


While U.S. Treasury securities rallied a bit following February's declines, the high yield bond and loan markets produced mixed performance. Agricultural and energy commodities also declined, with crude oil prices coming under pressure primarily due to the continued rise in global inventories and the anticipation of new supply that could be made available following a diplomatic agreement and removal of sanctions with Iran.

After a state of transition with interim president, Mortimer H. Neuville, Ph.D. at the helm, Coppin State University has been appointed a new president. Maria Thompson, Ph.D. will lead the urban historically black university into its next generation after serving as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Oneonta. Prior to that, she was a leading administrator for research and sponsored programs at Tennessee State University, a historically black institution in Nashville, Tennessee. She brings experience in building a research enterprise and raising the quality of academic programs across an institution. 


Dr. Thompson's appointment will be effective starting July 1.

University of Maryland, Baltimore's School of Nursing Receives Largest Gift in School's History


A recent gift of $5.24 million from William "Bill" and Joanne Conway, through their Bedford Falls Foundation, has made history for being the School of Nursing's largest gift to date. The gift will allow the school to expand enrollment in its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (BSN) and increase opportunities for registered nurses to obtain their BSN degrees. The gift will also provide full scholarship support for 157 new students to the school, and will be disbursed over a five-year period.

Frostburg State University (FSU) Names Building in Honor of President Emerita Catherine Gira

Frostburg held an unveiling ceremony earlier this month to reveal the new name of its Center for Communications and Information Technology. Named for Catherine R. Gira, who served as president from 1991 to 2006, the naming honors her years of service to FSU and her distinguished career in higher education. The Catherine R. Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology opened in the fall 2014 semester and is a $71 million structure housing the facilities for computer science, communication, mathematics and graphic design, as well as studios for WFWM radio, the FSU-TV3 cable channel and the Multimedia Learning Center featuring the Planetarium.
Towson University Kicks Off 150th Anniversary Celebration

Towson University kicked off its 150th anniversary with a ribbon-cutting and a party for faculty, staff, students, friends, and alumni alike. The 13-month celebration will include myriad events, presentations, and creative works highlighting the rich and diverse history of the university. Towson has undergone numerous transformations, from name changes to an ever expanding campus. Visit Towson's new 150th anniversary website for more details of the university's history and celebration events throughout the year.

May 2015
Vol. 9, Iss. 5
In This Issue
USM News Briefs   

University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke on the Baltimore Riots

Kurt Schmoke is currently president of the University of Baltimore (UB), however he served as mayor of Baltimore city starting in the late 80s. His firsthand experience with the needs of its residents have made him a leading authority in discussing how Baltimore can move forward since the incidents of April 27. He has been quoted in numerous articles, and penned an article for Time magazine. His leadership is especially meaningful given UB's proximity to where many of the major events occurred.

Salisbury has revealed its plans for a 10-year campus makeover, which includes a new field house, a fine and performing arts complex, new residence halls and academic buildings, and the development of walking and biking paths. The plan will be done in two five-year phases, with construction already underway for parts of the first phase.

Trends in Philanthropy

Online Fundraising: Unleash the Future


The Chronicle of Philanthropy has put together a series of blog posts, articles, and webinars to help non-profit organizations strengthen ties with their donors, especially through the use of online fundraising. The articles range from news, trends, advice, and tools and are useful resources for those trying to improve their online fundraising initiatives.

USM Regent News 

 USM Regent Paul L. Vance, Ed.D., a member of the board since July 2010, died May 2nd after a long illness. He headed two major school districts during the course of a distinguished 30-year career in education. He was a tremendous asset to the USM community and will be missed. 


More details can be found here.

Board Member News


USM Foundation Board Director John J. Allen Jr. has been named chairman of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's Board of Visitors. John will be tasked with leading board meetings four times a year and assisting with community relations, institutional development, governmental affairs, alumni affairs, and more. 

Congratulations, John!

Jess Gill

Editor, LeaderNotes