While undoubtedly a gifted historian, University of Maryland-Baltimore County professor Hugh Davis Graham {Close to Home, Nov. 1} suffers from an acute case of spatial/temporal disorientation, mixed with a dose of higher education egocentrism to boot. Proclaiming that his own campus should be funded commensurate with its establishment as the "UCLA of the East" (Lefty Driesell in a nonbasketball context?), Mr. Graham somehow concludes that the Maryland General Assembly would concurrently devote sufficient financial resources to transform the College Park campus into his misplaced vision of a University of California at Berkeley-style center of "research education."

As a matter of geography, Maryland cannot be mistaken for California: whereas some 400 miles and eight hours' driving time separate the Berkeley and UCLA campuses, a scant 30 miles and 45 minutes via I-95 link College Park with the Catonsville campus and the Baltimore metropolitan area. If Mr. Graham had a true sense of the Washington-Baltimore regionalism he preaches, he would recognize this simple truth: the continued renaissance of the College Park campus as a comprehensive center of higher education (including teaching, research and, yes, intercollegiate athletics) should not be held hostage by the misplaced, provincial politics that seek to plunder the College Park campus.

The Baltimore business community benefits as surely as Maryland's Washington suburbs by having appropriate attention focused on the properly diverse educational mission of UM-College Park. If the citizens of Maryland are to realize Mr. Graham's dream of a UCLA in Maryland, then we must move now to make College Park that kind of high-quality campus. Such a call to excellence, in the vein of a UCLA or a University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, should not go unnoticed by Gov. William Donald Schaefer, his Baltimore roots, like mine, notwithstanding.