SALISBURY — Salisbury University alumnus Norman H. Conway has dedicated his life to education and the public good.
During a festive ceremony on Tuesday, April 26, his alma mater recognized his devotion to learning, to the Eastern Shore and to all of Maryland by rededicating its award-winning Teacher Education and Technology Center as Conway Hall.
A member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1987-2015 and chair of its Appropriations Committee from 2003-2014, Conway was instrumental in helping SU secure funding for the building, which opened in 2008. During his tenure with the legislature, he also supported the construction of SU’s Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons, Perdue Hall and Henson Science Hall; its Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art; the transfer of Delmarva Public Radio to the University; and the creation of SU’s M.S.W. program, among other projects.
“Many people may not fully understand the complexities involved in gaining funding for new academic buildings, though I think most people appreciate the challenges sometimes faced in navigating the political waters of Annapolis,” said SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach. “For nearly three decades, Salisbury University and this entire region had an extremely influential advocate working on our behalf in Delegate Norman Conway. His efforts were significant in shaping the University’s ability to grow and expand over the past 15 years. The name Conway Hall will remind current and future students of what he has done for this campus and what they, too, can accomplish with an SU education.”
“I’m extremely honored,” said the humbled Conway upon receiving news of the rededication.
After earning his B.A. in education from what was then Salisbury State Teachers College in 1965, Conway returned to pursue his M.Ed., which he received in 1972. He became a well-known figure in the Wicomico County education community as a teacher, vice principal and principal. During this time, he was elected to the Salisbury City Council, serving four years as president. In 1986, he was elected to the House of Delegates, quickly rising through the ranks of leadership.
The university presented him with its inaugural President’s Medal in 2014. The award honors individuals for their contributions, dedication and support of SU’s mission, vision and success.
At the time of its opening, Conway Hall was the largest academic structure on campus and was the first U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified new construction project on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. College Planning & Management magazine also named it one of the 10 best-designed new higher education buildings in the U.S. for 2009.
Conway Hall is home to the May Literacy Center, offering after-school tutoring and reading programs; and the Curriculum Resource Center (CRC), with the Carol and Jim Powers Reading Room. The CRC provides teaching materials and books, children’s and young adult literature, and special collections focused on Maryland and the environment.
Other distinctive features include distance-learning classrooms, a 3,000-square-foot high-definition digital video production studio and an audio recording studio with the capability of 24-track recordings, as well as 15 video editing suites, five audio editing suites and the SU Art Galleries’ Electronic Gallery.
Beyond Conway’s support for SU, he was a staunch advocate for the Eastern Shore at large. During his tenure as chair of the Appropriations Committee, the Lower Shore alone received more than $500 million in state funding for capital projects, benefitting everything from schools to fire departments to Salisbury Zoological Park.
For Conway, the focus was always on people, however, from the thousands of voters he represented in the House to the SU students for whom he helped gain internships in the General Assembly (including many in his office throughout the years). He continues to serve the community as a member of the Salisbury Fire Department and on boards of directors for such organizations as the Ward Museum and the Mental Health Association of Maryland.