CALIFORNIA, Md. – On January 4, 2019, the Board of Governors of the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC) cordially invites the Southern Maryland community to participate in a Stakeholders Forum.  This all-day “Transforming Southern Maryland” event will be held at the SMHEC campus at 44219 Airport Road, California, Maryland, in the Center Hall of Powell Hall (Building 2), 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration, including sponsored lunch and breaks, is free. To check the agenda and register, visit:

Confirmed speakers include: U.S Senator Chris Van Hollen, The Governor of Maryland’s representative, Dr. James Fielder JR., MD Secretary of Higher Education: Dr. Robert Caret, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland (USM): RADM John Lemmon, Commander of the Naval Air Warfare Center-Aircraft Division: Dr. Darryll Pines, Dean of the Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland College Park; Dr. Joann Boughman, USM Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Ms. Ellen Herbst, USM Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance; and Mr. Tom Sadowski, USM Vice Chancellor for Economic Development; as well as a host of other recognized local leaders.

The forum follows the theme that research, and technology inform education, education informs the workforce and the workforce brings innovation and economic diversity. This theme closely aligns with the forthcoming merger of SMHEC with USM. With the merger, SMHEC becomes the USM Southern Maryland Regional Center. This center comes with an $84M USM research and classroom building. The building, to be complete by 2021, features ample research space dedicated to advancing the science of autonomous systems. The additional classrooms provide capacity for expanded education. This includes the ability of local students to attend the College of Southern Maryland and to go on to complete their undergraduate degree without need to leave Southern Maryland. The multi-purpose assembly space permits much needed meeting space for community events.

The goal of the forum is to factually inform and positively empower community stakeholders in the process of shaping the emergent center to satisfy regional needs. To this end, the afternoon of the forum will be dedicated to thematically relevant discussion groups to explore each aspect of the research, education and workforce triad.

The evolution of the economic development at the adjacent St. Mary’s County Regional Airport reflects the opportunity for complementary growth and vitality in Southern Maryland. As similar partnerships grow, programs are created, and economic drivers are identified and supported, the Center needs the stakeholder community to remain engaged and informed.

Our sponsors include: The Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, the University System of Maryland (USM), Smartronix, Sabre Systems, the Aviation Systems Engineering Company (AESC), Coherent Technical Services, Inc. (CTSI), S. Hunt Aero, LLC and the Florida Institute of Technology. Registration is FREE, but space is limited. We encourage early registrations via: