Growing schools, plunging pooches, cultivating a college

Rory McEntegart, left, and Don Ross are in the area this week setting up an office for their American College Delaware.  They soon will be recruiting students for their first class, in 2014. BY DENNIS FORNEY
January 11, 2013

Cape Superintendent Bob Fulton called this week concerned that Tuesday's editorial might lead people to believe that a task force has made its final recommendation concerning a plan for new schools.

“We just want people to know that this is a work in progress and the final recommendation won't come, probably, until the February meeting of the school board,” said Fulton.

The editorial, and the front- page article about the task force discussions, noted that this process is in the planning phase. The editorial also raised a number of concerns about what has been discussed so far. For us, that's part of the community dialogue. And better to have concerns raised now so they can be part of the discussion. Our goal with editorials is to provoke thought and discussion about issues facing the communities we cover. We're happy to reiterate that the final recommendation is still a ways off and that we will keep our readers informed about what's being discussed leading up to that important recommendation.

Pooches plunging in a pool

Ann Grunert and her entire Delaware Special Olympics staff are in the final weeks of planning the 2013 Polar Bear Plunge Festival for the weekend of Feb. 2 and 3 in Rehoboth Beach. A new feature this year is the Pooch Plunge planned for Saturday, Feb. 2, between 11 a.m. and noon. Dogs will not be forced into the freezing cold ocean that the polar jumpers will have to endure. “The dogs will have it a lot easier,” said Ann. “They will run through a baby pool. We realize people are concerned that the Pooch Plunge involves dogs going into the ocean, so we just want to reassure them that is not the case.”
Pooches whose owners donate $25 for Delaware Special Olympics will receive a Delaware Special Olympics bandanna, a portable water bowl and some Frosty Paws treats. The Pooch Plunge, sponsored by M&T Bank, will take place on the beach at the end of Rehoboth Avenue.

Cultivating a liberal arts college

Don Ross and Rory McEntegart are determined to open a four-year liberal arts college in Delaware's Cape Region in 2014. The closer to the beach the better, they say. “It all starts from a seed,” says Ross, “and this is good ground to grow in. I can see students rowing on the canal and hiking and cycling on the local trail system.”

McEntegart is academic dean for American College Dublin and American College Delaware, component colleges of the Irish American University. He can't wait to set up a liberal arts curriculum that takes advantage of the rich history of the mid-Atlantic region, the temperate climate, and the American culture of our beaches which he knows will attract European and Asian students.

Ross founds colleges and universities. He exemplifies the difference between dreamer and visionary. Google Ross along with Wilmington University, Lynn University and Irish American University and you'll see what I mean.

This week the men are in the area setting up an informational office for their heady initiative. “We'll be set up either on Route 1 or in downtown Lewes,” said Ross. “And in a couple of months we will have recruiters on the road seeking students for the first year of classes in 2014. We've had nothing but positive reaction to our concept and we're confident we can find a building in the area where we can get started. We can put classrooms in a warehouse. I think it was University of Chicago's Robert Hutchins who said the best teacher can be sitting on a log with two people.”

“This is history in the making,” said McEntegart. “Eight hundred years ago Oxford University was a few people sitting around a table - just like we're doing now.”

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