County Comment: Indian University Purchases Friendship Building

CUTLINE:
Founder and Chancellor of Vinayaka Missions University, Dr. A. Shanmugasundaram bestows ceremonial Shawl and garland on Commissioners' President John Barr, as EDC Director Tim Troxell and Commissioner Jim Kercheval look on.


County Comment
Indian University Purchases Friendship Building
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland

In the regular meeting of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners on August 26th, Vinayaka Missions America University, Inc. (VMAU) announced the purchase of the Friendship Office building, the former Allegheny Energy/Potomac Edison Headquarters and the surrounding 45-acre campus located on Downsville Pike South of Hagerstown.
VMAU Founder and Chancellor Dr. A. Shanmugasundaram and Dr. Selvin Kumar, a representative of the University, made the announcement following introduction by Commissioner's President John Barr. Barr said of the purchase, "I hope it will spur interest in Friendship Technology Park and will bring added benefit to our community."
VMAU purchased the property for approximately $8.5 million and plan to invest an additional $3.5 million during the first year of operations including updating the facade, installing new lighting, and repaving the parking lot. VMAU plans to establish a university center, which will include a nursing program and other health-related programs. The institution hopes to eventually develop a state-of-the-art medical facility that will include a trauma center. All credit and non-credit courses will be open to the general public.
An international educational organization, VMAU was founded in 1981 in the city of Salem, India, located in the province of Tamil Nadu.
VMAU pro-chancellor A.S. Ganesan said that the university has 27 colleges, including four teaching hospitals, with more than 3,000 staff members and 20,000 students at its educational institutions in India, Europe, Australia and Canada. VMAU's campus in Washington County is the first such U.S. venture for the institute of higher learning.
The university is a leader in distance education, bringing classes to students worldwide through satellite and computer technology.