While most people would guess that the leading academic institution on the Mid-Shore would be the historic Washington College, it might surprise many that that title might go to an extremely rural institution in Caroline County in terms of operational budget and workforce.
That would be Benedictine. With an operational budget of $25 million and close to 400 employees, this remarkable center, founded by The Benedictine Sisters of Ridgely, Maryland, has slowly but surely become Maryland’s premier nonprofit education center for exceptional children.
Benedictine, founded by monk Boniface Wimmer for Benedictine nuns in 1846, transitioned in 1959 from its traditional education role to serving young people with severe intellectual disabilities, a unique mission at the time.
And from that moment in time, Benedictine has grown from the Ridgely campus to the adult homes on the Eastern Shore and Annapolis, the Community Services and Training Center in Easton that partners with Maryland’s Division of Rehabilitation Services programs in Talbot, Queen Annes, Caroline, and Dorchester Counties public schools. It also has become a national leader in innovative ways to improve the quality of life for thousands of students and their families.
The Benedictine Foundation has launched its “Transforming Lives” campaign to fund the, “Transforming a campus to transform lives” project. This project is a careful orchestration of building renovation and new construction to address obsolescence, safety, and the health issues of our current and future students. Benedictine’s students on the autism spectrum have significantly increased over the past 20 years and now makeup about 80% of our population. Students in Maryland with moderate to severe developmental disabilities and autism need to have a safe place to learn, grow, and achieve their greatest potential.
After three years, Benedictine will be holding its annual spring fundraising gala, themed Benedictine Bond Ball, on Saturday, April 30th at the Tidewater Inn in Easton. Community members, families, staff and the students and adults Benedictine serves will gather again to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year and to raise funds to support the needs of the organization. This year’s event will also include a virtual online silent auction. For more information, please go here.
The Spy sat down with Benedictine’s executive director and Church Hill resident Scott Evans a few weeks ago to talk about his own journey into the specialized field, the uniqueness of Benedictine, and his school’s plans.
This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about Benedictine please go here.