More than 87 years after Frederick County rented space from the school that is now Hood College, it’s Hood’s turn to rent space from the county.

The Woman’s College of Frederick, the original name of Hood College, opened its doors for its first class at Winchester Hall on Sept. 12, 1893. At a celebration of the college’s 125th year of operations, Hood President Andrea Chapdelaine announced the launch of the Martha Church Center for Civic Engagement to help connect students with government, business and nonprofit opportunities.

“Through the work of this center, we will better meet the educational and workforce needs of our community, expand internship and research opportunities for our students, and increase our civic and service participation,” Chapdelaine said. “All institutions of higher education must be a force of hope, opportunity, obligation and democracy. Hood has been this for 125 years, and we are excited to do even more in the next 125 years.”

The center, funded by a gift from Martha Church at the time of her retirement, will be at 118 N. Market St., and share space with several county organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Frederick Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology, and a technology and business incubator that specializes in technology transfers.

Hood students Caitlyn-Jean Ward and Mary Amusa unveiled a plaque on the outside wall of Winchester Hall that reads “1893-1915 Original home of the Woman’s College of Frederick, Maryland now known as Hood College.”

In 1930, the county started renting Winchester Hall from the college. On Aug. 1, 1931, Winchester Hall was purchased by the county for $35,000.

“There continues to be a strong presence of Hood College in our halls,” said County Executive Jan Gardner, adding that numerous Hood graduates work in the building for the county. “I’m very pleased that the partnership opportunities continue to present themselves to the county and Hood College.”

Gardner said she thought the partnership of the Martha Church Center and the various organizations at Root — the name given to the building at 118 N. Market St. — will help the county’s business community to thrive.

“We are very fortunate in Frederick to have such a strong institution in Hood College that is both deeply engrained in our history and is integral to our future,” Gardner said.

Follow Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler.

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