‘Exactly what we need in the state:’ Maryland Gov. Wes Moore selects TU for cabinet meeting

Moore holds inaugural external cabinet meeting at StarTUp at the Armory, visits College of Health Professions building construction

By Rebecca Kirkman & Henry Basta on February 3, 2023

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, the state’s first Black governor, began his third week in office at TU.

Moore and his senior leadership team of secretaries convened for a cabinet meeting at the StarTUp at the Armory—Towson University’s innovation hub and business engagement center in downtown Towson—and visited campus to see progress on the new College of Health Professions building Feb. 3.

“Today I’m with my cabinet at Towson University. We are here because we know that Maryland’s economy and our education system are inextricably linked. We will make this Maryland’s decade and it all starts with education,” Moore said.

Three TU alumni have been appointed to Moore’s cabinet, including Paul Wiedefeld ’79, secretary of transportation; Carol Beatty ’75, secretary of disabilities; and Carolyn Scruggs ’87, secretary of public safety and corrections. 

Moore’s stop at TU was intentional, he said, as TU has proven adept as an anchor institution in supporting workforce development through initiatives like the StarTUp and academic programming, such as the College of Health Professions—Maryland’s largest provider of undergraduate healthcare workers.

“We were incredibly honored to host Gov. Moore and the members of his cabinet to our beautiful campus today for a cabinet meeting so early in their administration,” says Melanie Perreault, TU’s interim president. “Towson University takes great pride in our role as an anchor institution for the state, and we so enjoyed the opportunity to showcase some of the essential projects on our campus that support this effort. The TU leadership team looks forward to working with Gov. Moore and his administration to strengthen higher education in Maryland for years to come.”

After the cabinet meeting, Moore toured the StarTUp at the Armory, the state-of-the-art, 26,000-square-foot space recognized as a top university economic development initiative nationwide. There he heard from TU Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Patrick McQuown as well as StarTUp Accelerator fellows Kobby Osei-Kusi, Rebecca Rosenberg, Conrad Brake ’21 and Ryan Rutkowski ’22.

“This is exactly what we need in the state and what we want to invest in,” Moore said of the StarTUp Accelerator program from the front row, raising his hand and asking the first question to McQuown. Moore then asked how support was maintained for the cohort businesses beyond the eight-week program.

The connection with Accelerator fellows lasts a lifetime, McQuown explained, with access to support including networking, mentorship and resources available at the StarTUp at the Armory.

A ride on the Towson Loop bus brought Moore to the core of TU’s campus, where he saw progress on the new College of Health Professions building—slated to open in summer 2024. The 240,000-square-foot, $188 million project will increase the university’s enrollment capacity as it continues to help fill the gap in Maryland’s health care workforce as the home of the state’s top producer of health professions bachelor’s degrees.

“I love the sight of cranes,” Moore said after remarks from Perreault and Jordan Colquitt, TU Student Government Association president. The two cranes over campus are among many that have dotted the skyline in recent months—visual evidence of the more than $1 billion in public and private investment in projects recently completed or underway on and closely surrounding TU’s campus.

Colquitt had the opportunity to welcome Moore to campus before shaking hands with the governor.

“Towson University is headed in an excellent direction. Our strategic plan through 2030 is bold, it’s focused, and most importantly student centered,” Colquitt says. “Much like the Moore–Miller administration slogan, TU will leave no student behind. On behalf of the student body, I thank our state leadership for their continued support.”