Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer campaigned long and hard today to be Maryland governor, but he didn't shake a single hand in the Free State.
Instead, he played pupil to North Carolina business, academic and political leaders as they showed off their economic development prize: the 6,000-acre Research Triangle Park that uses the resources of some of the nation's largest companies as well as those of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University in Durham and North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
Schaefer seemed impressed by the sprawling prosperity of the 30-year-old project and by the pragmatic philosophies of economic development presented to him by Duke University president and former governor Terry Sanford and others.
"We're trying to find a mission for our colleges and universities," Schaefer told Sanford, who won the Democratic nomination this month for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. John P. East. "I'm not sure it's very well defined" in Maryland.
Schaefer, who has built a reputation after 15 years as mayor of the state's largest city as probusiness, said that he was particularly concerned about how to involve Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland in statewide economic development.
A familiar refrain in Schaefer's campaign speeches in recent weeks has been his contention that Maryland's counties compete with each other for new business when they should be working in concert to attract the jobs the region needs.
Yet in an interview at the end of his field trip here today, Schaefer said he was unfamiliar with the University of Maryland's effort to establish a science and technology center near Bowie that the school had modeled after the successful North Carolina research park.
Bernard L. Berkowitz, the director of the Baltimore Economic Development Corp., who accompanied the mayor on today's trip, said that the Bowie project, which is sponsored by the university's fund-raising arm and a private developer, operates apart from the state government. Schaefer said state involvement is vital.
"Unless you have state government involved with the university, it won't move as rapidly," he said.
Groundbreaking for the 466-acre University of Maryland project is expected to take place this year, and the $1 billion park is scheduled to take 15 years to complete. North Carolina's park is still incomplete.
Robert G. Smith, the president of the fund-raising arm, the University of Maryland Foundation, said he had not been contacted by any of the candidates for governor.
Schaefer said he particularly liked Sanford's suggestion that state community colleges be used as training grounds for specific technical fields rather than as junior colleges.
Afterward, Schaefer said that he could see implementing aspects of the North Carolina development strategy in Maryland, and without information on the Bowie project, he said that perhaps vacant land such as that at the former Bainbridge naval base in Cecil County could be used.