CHESTERTOWN — Washington College is expressing interest in growing its presence in Talbot County, according to the college’s president Kurt Landgraf.
“I’ve been the president of Washington College for about two years and there’s always been an area of interest for us to see if we can have more a presence in Talbot County for several reasons,” Landgraf said. He pointed to the college’s many alumni who reside in Talbot County.
“Second of all, there’s no college in the county so it opens some particular opportunities,” he said.
The idea is in its preliminary stages with focus groups, and Landgraf said the college’s more visible presence could include course offerings or lectures in the county. The focus groups would consist of a professional facilitator and “a broad range of people” interested in Washington College and seeing a presence, he said.
“I’m hoping that we’ll be able to get something started as soon as the fall of this year and then be able to incrementally grow upon that,” Landgraf said.
The college recently partnered to distribute a survey in Talbot County and received 250 responses.
The survey questioned subscribers’ familiarity with Washington College, what areas of specialization Talbot County residents would like to see from the college upon its potential expansion in the county and what offerings would be of interest (courses, lectures or other formats).
Landgraf said respondents expressed interest in the college offering courses or lectures related to the environment, economic growth, protecting the Chesapeake Bay and the education system.
“We’ve gotten a good response on recognition about the college,” Landgraf said.
“We are really taking this initiative very, very seriously,” Landgraf said. “We’re doing all the things we should do to ensure this is a good thing for the county and a good thing for the college.
“There’s a lot of support at the college here to expand in a meaningful way into Talbot County,” Landgraf said.
Landgraf said several professors from Washington College conducted a series of lectures last year at the Talbot Country Club that were “extremely well attended.”
“There’s a lot of interest in having our professors come to the county and provide a forum to talk about areas of academic interest,” he said.
“In my perspective, if we do go forward, we need to make sure we offer something that’s meaningful in the county,” Landgraf said. “If we offer courses it has to be meaningful to the people in the county. And we have to have a long-term goal with having a real presence in the county.”
“We think this is a very good opportunity for the college and the county,” he said.