The new dual-language Ana G. Méndez University’s Capitol Area campus in Wheaton hopes to attract bilingual students in Montgomery County and the D.C. metropolitan region.
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At yesterday morning’s ribbon-cutting ceremony the university received praise and a warm welcome from Maryland Secretary of Labor Alexander Sánchez, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Councilmember Nancy Navarro.
A crowd gathered in a large white tent erected in the parking lot outside to hear opening remarks before entering the 20,000 square foot university campus and exploring the new classrooms.
The campus occupies the old Circuit City building in the Westfield mall area on Veirs Mill Road.
Several of the speakers at the inauguration ceremony spoke in English and Spanish, reflecting the university’s goal to serve--and build up--a bilingual population. Classes, which begin Jan. 12, will be taught 50 percent in English and 50 percent in Spanish.
“Knowing a second language should not be a barrier,” said Luis Zayas, vice president of national and international affairs for the Ana G. Méndez University System. “It is an asset.”
Wheaton is also home to the headquarters, where the county provides services to immigrants and their families.
Karla Silvestre, the Latino liaison for the county’s Office of Community Partnerships, said that she’s looking forward to working with the university in helping students connect to county resources.
The non-profit university system includes three main campuses in Puerto Rico and three in Florida--and now the Capital Area campus in Wheaton.
The Capital Area campus has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and authorized by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Ana G. Méndez University requires its students to be at least 23 years old, with prior post-secondary experience and at least three years of work experience.