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Higher Education in Maryland

April 2008 Press Release




MHEC’s Legacy Service Leaders graduate


Annapolis (April 4, 2008)


Two extraordinary members of the Legacy Leadership Institute on Public Policy who shared their invaluable talents to the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) during the 2008 General Assembly Session, graduated from the program April 3.

Dr. Mark Shahamat and Ms. Deborah Stokes, both of Prince George’s County teamed to help MHEC’s Director of Legislative Affairs Dr. Gareth Murray with legislation important to MHEC and the Governor’s office.

“Mark and Deborah were enormously helpful and always willing to do anything to help MHEC broaden its mission which is to enhance the best higher education system in the country,” Dr. Murray said. “They were a tremendous asset.”

“Every time I would leave my office for a meeting, Mark and Deborah were diligently working on legislation and tracking bills of interest to our agency,” Higher Education Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr., said. “Not only did they do a great job for us, but they were very pleasant and a joy to have at MHEC.”

Ms. Stokes retired from the Prince George’s County Public Schools as an Elementary School Administrator for more than 40 years. Dr. Shahamat received his PhD in microbiology from the University of Nottingham (England), his M.Sc degree in Microbiology at the University of Tehran and his B.Sc in Biology from the University of Tehran.

Ms. Stokes and Dr. Shahamat said they were very pleased with their time at MHEC.

“My experience with the Legacy Leadership Program has been both rewarding and exciting,” Ms. Stokes said. “I have had the opportunity to learn more about Maryland Government through our challenging course work at the University of Maryland and the exciting day-to day activities at MHEC.”

“I am glad I am working in MHEC and learning about the organization,” Dr. Shahamat said adding that he has enjoyed and learned a lot about the legislative process by attending House and Senate hearings.

The Legacy Leadership program, which is considered to be a model of excellence nationwide, is sponsored by the University of Maryland System. It bridges the needs of local communities and government in the State of Maryland with the expertise of Maryland residents 50 or older through internships and volunteer service.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 325,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.


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