Chesapeake College unveils new look in Cambridge

MD-Chesapeake College unveils Cambridge_ribbon cut 3x

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper Cutting the ribbon at the re-dedication of Chesapeake College are Senator Addie Eckardt, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, Tom Hutchinson of Cambridge Main Street, Chesapeake College President Barbara Viniar, and photographer Jill Jasuta.

CAMBRIDGE — As part of Chesapeake College’s ongoing 50th Anniversary commemoration, President Barbara Viniar and Mayor Victoria Jackson Stanley officially unveiled façade improvements and new exhibits at the school’s Cambridge Center on Nov. 14 during Second Saturday. Sen. Addie Eckardt and Cambridge Main Street Association President Tom Hutchinson joined in the ribbon cutting.

Local officials and community members attended the event and also celebrated the opening of the new Leggett Gallery. The Mayor thanked Dr. Viniar for her leadership and vision. “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring life and beauty to downtown. I’m so proud of this partnership,” she said. “How great it is to celebrate the 50th year of Chesapeake College with its new face lift and the marvelous exhibition of Jill Jasuta’s photographs,” the Mayor continued, “Chesapeake College is a big part of our downtown, and we are all partners in this together. I thank everyone for coming, and everyone from Chesapeake College!”

Sen. Eckardt said the center is vital to the economic development of the area, allowing local students to train for careers and prepare to transfer into bachelor’s degree programs. “This is a marvelous opportunity to celebrate the re-opening of Chesapeake College,” said Senator Eckardt, “right here at the new Leggett Gallery exhibit. This is the 50th anniversary of Chesapeake College, which they’ve been celebrating all year. And we are glad that we are celebrating right here in beautiful downtown Cambridge, because we love having Chesapeake College being one of our real anchors in Downtown Cambridge. Congratulations to Dr. Viniar and to the staff here that we’ve known for years. They do a great job with not only evening and continuing education, but with our high school students who have an opportunity to get a leg up on their careers with the help of a community college.”

Developed in response to suggestions by downtown businesses and Main Street members that the college better utilize its Race Street side to showcase the school’s programs, the window displays feature Chesapeake’s new recruitment campaign, “Your time. Your place.”

“In planning our new marketing campaign, we met with dozens of stakeholders in Dorchester County who asked us to make the Cambridge Center a vibrant and active community partner,” said Lucie Hughes, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “Their suggestions included creating a day-time destination, increasing Race Street’s curb appeal, and capitalizing on the 50 feet of retail space to market our programs.” She added that many people also suggested the school partner with local organizations such as Cambridge Main Street and participate in special events like Second Saturdays.

Sporting a bright new awning emblazoned with ‘Chesapeake College Cambridge Center,’ the façade is enhanced by new exhibits and an enhanced entry. The four large display windows feature colorful graphics with life-size student images and information on Chesapeake’s degree, career and continuing education programs. The entryway welcomes students and visitors with inviting visuals and photographs now line the main corridor.

“As President of Cambridge Main Street and a member of the Chesapeake College Foundation, I participated in the focus groups for the 50th anniversary planning and am very pleased that Lucie and her team heard our comments and decided to make a statement downtown,” said Tom Hutchinson, vice president, Quality Health Strategies.

“Tom Hutchinson had mentioned that there had been a rumor that we were leaving,” said Dr. Barbara Viniar, president of Chesapeake College, “and I think this is the best possible way we could say ‘We are here, we will continue together.’ Everyone will see the outside, and we’re hoping people will come in and see the inside — the galleries, the new flooring, bright new painting — we want this to be a wonderful environment for learning.”

During the festivities, officials also cut the ribbon of the new Leggett Gallery, named for the former department store that once occupied the building. Presenting work by local photographers, the gallery was another suggestion made during the anniversary planning. The inaugural installation features 12 images by Cambridge resident Jill Jasuta whose work has appeared at the Dorchester Center for the Arts, Main Street Gallery, and many regional magazines.

Designed by Choptank Communications, the Cambridge based marketing firm that produced the 50th anniversary campaign, the façade improvements were developed by Andrea Vernot. The exhibits were installed by Chesapeake alum Jason Warfield, owner of Hurlock-based Mid Shore Graphics.

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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