Washington College has been awarded $1.25 Million in matching funds through the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative (MIE), matched by private donors, for a $2.5 million endowment supporting a Chair for the Natural & Cultural Resource Initiatives under the college’s Center for Environment & Society. This professorship is part of the college’s new Past is Present initiative, which focuses on environmental archaeology, cultural resource management and the linkages between heritage and natural resources.
“This is an important step forward in protecting and managing the remarkable natural and cultural resources with which our region is so blessed,” said Jon Seidel, the director of Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society. “There is a logical, but often unrecognized, alliance between those of us who work in these fields, and this position will build ties and strengthen our collective efforts.”
The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI) is a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at colleges and universities. The funds awarded through MEI are a match to private funds raised by the institutions themselves.
A total of $21.2 million was awarded to eight colleges and universities throughout Maryland including Washington College, Johns Hopkins, Morgan State, Goucher, Hood, University of Maryland, College Park; and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided $64.9 million in funding to leverage $71.2 million in private donations. The funding can be used to pay salaries of newly endowed department chairs, staff, and support personnel in designated scientific and technical fields of study; fund related research fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students; and purchase lab equipment and other basic infrastructure and equipment.
“Ecotourism and heritage tourism in particular are powerful economic engines for the Eastern Shore, and we look forward to enhancing the opportunities for communities to benefit from this potential,” Seidel said.