Way back when Aberdeen's western edge was solidly reined in by I-95, there were those in the community who concluded the proximity to I-95 and Aberdeen Proving Ground made the area a prime spot for an institution of higher learning.
They also concluded it would be easier to take advantage of existing nearby institutions of higher learning rather than try to start one from scratch. The idea was for a facility where colleges and universities could offer a range of courses. The market would be local people, as well as folks stationed at APG.
It was a good idea, except for the name. Very early on, the plan was to call it the Center for Higher Education and Applied Technology. Someone had the good sense to realize the abbreviation for this would be CHEAT, so before the planning moved much beyond the early talking stages, the name was changed.
It ended up being called the Higher Education and Applied Technology Center, or HEAT Center. The name was regarded as being clever to the extent that it was expected to generate a bit of figurative economic heat in the community.
The idea was good, and there have been some pretty good educational opportunities offered at the Aberdeen center. The name, however, it turns out, was too clever by half.
"When we were called the HEAT Center, we often received phone calls from people to repair their heat," Nancy Spence, director of what is now known as the University Center at Aberdeen, said.
The name officially has been changed, but the mission remains the same, that being to offer a local option for people looking to complete four-year degrees in Harford County. The center has partner programs with Johns Hopkins, Morgan State University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Towson U. and the Maryland system.
It's a good higher education option, especially for anyone who lives in Harford County and is pressed for time.
Then again, it was a good option when it was the HEAT Center, even if it did sound like a place to call to get your heating system fixed.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun