FROSTBURG — Frostburg State University’s newest academic building is now known as the Catherine R. Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology, following an unveiling ceremony Sunday. The naming honors Gira’s 15 years of service to FSU and her distinguished career in higher education.
Held on a sunny spring morning in front of more than 100 well-wishers, the black and red drape covering the brick sign that now bears her name was drawn up and away as Gira stood by.
“It’s a spectacular building. … I look at these bricks and I think, if there were the name of every person who had something to do with what it is today, one whole façade of the building would have those names on it,” Gira said at the ceremony. “And so it is a wonderful building, and it may bear my name, but I’m a placeholder for all of those people who did what needed to be done to make this happen.”
During her tenure, Gira was an early and strong advocate for the construction of CCIT, recognizing the need for advanced and appropriate facilities for the rapidly transforming technology disciplines.
“We celebrate your vision, your leadership and your love for this campus community,” said Tom Bowling, vice president for Student Affairs, addressing Gira. “It is very fitting that this new building, named after Frostburg’s second and most recent woman president, sits just down the hill from the Compton Science Center, which was built during Dr. Gira’s tenure.” Compton was named for President Lillian Compton, who served from 1945 to 1954. Bowling, who will become interim president after President Jonathan Gibralter leaves at the end of June, spoke in place of Gibralter, who was unable to attend because of a family emergency.
The Catherine R. Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology, which opened in the fall 2014 semester, is a $71 million structure housing the facilities for computer science, communication, mathematics and graphic design, as well as studios for WFWM radio, the FSUTV3 cable channel and the Multimedia Learning Center featuring the Planetarium. The University System
of Maryland Board of Regents approved the naming of the building at its February meeting.
During Gira’s presidency from 1991 to 2006, the Performing Arts Center was completed and opened, and she successfully lobbied for the construction of the Compton Science Center, which was completed in 2003. Under her leadership, FSU experienced significant growth in academic offerings, enrollment, accreditation and research and fundraising dollars.
Following her retirement from FSU, Gira has continued to be active in advocacy for the arts and leadership development through her service and leadership with the Maryland Humanities Council Board of Directors and the Leadership Maryland Board of Directors.
Gifts in honor of Gira may be made to the Catherine R. Gira Campus to Community Fund, which supports student experiences that embrace topics of leadership, alumni connections, community service, internships and study abroad. For more information, contact the FSU Foundation at 301-687-4161 or visit www.frostburg.edu/makeagift.