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University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark Building Ceremony

This is an exciting day, isn’t it?  Turn to your neighbor to the left and say, it’s an exciting day.  Now turn to the neighbor to the right and say, boy, this is an exciting day.  All right.  Everybody happy?

This is a terrific day.  It really, really is.  I want to thank Senator Cardin, I want to thank Congressman Cummings for their leadership, for their inspiration.  And I also want to thank Mayor Sheila Dixon.  And when we worked together in the years that we were able to serve together, Mayor Dixon, we worked together in partnership for that better tomorrow for Baltimore, that better tomorrow for all of Baltimore.

And, Dr. Ramsay, thank you for your vision.  Thank you for believing in your institution, believing in the people that work there, believing in your neighbors, and believing that one person can make a difference, and that each of us must try.

It is very rare in life that you ever see the fruits of those sorts of collective labors start to manifest themselves as quickly as we have seen now on this side.  Not the other side, but this side of Martin Luther King Boulevard.  And it’s happening.  It’s happening today. (Applause)

There were so very many hurdles that came in each stretch of this.  Ken Banks spoke eloquently of what used to be here.  And Congressman Cummings talked about not being blinded by what we see.  If there’s a theme running through all of these remarks, it’s that we have to have the courage to paint the bullseye if we’re ever going to hit it.

That’s what we had the courage to do years ago and now we’re hitting it.  We’re hitting it in big ways, we’re hitting it in small ways, we’re hitting it not only with bricks, not only with mortar, not only with new buildings, but with new talent, with new hands and with new possibilities, which is the most exciting thing of all.

I want to thank all of the members of the BioPark board.  Many of them also serve on other important boards, like the Life Sciences Advisory Board.  I know Philippe Jacon is here, I also know Dr. Edward Rudnick, who serves on our State Workforce Investment Board.

Maryland’s future and, indeed, perhaps even the planet’s future, is going to depend on what we’re doing here and now.  What we’re doing here and now to unleash what Dr. Jeffrey Sachs has referred to as the weapons of mass salvation; those cures, those sciences, those technologies.  Those things that can heal and breathe life not only into these blocks of Poppleton, but breathe life into families and villages and places far, far away from here in order to keep faith with the revolutionary people that we have always been.

Maryland is already a leader in life sciences and biotechnology.  I mean, you heard the numbers that Senator Cardin talked about, that we’re third in the country.  We’re third in some other important things, too.  Not only in the research that comes here, not only in life sciences and biotech jobs, but we also have the third best public school system of any State in the entire United States of America.  We also have what Forbes magazine calls – hardly a publication of the tourism board of the City of Baltimore – Forbes magazine says that our State has the third most highly skilled workforce of any State in the United States of America.

You know, during tough times, it becomes very easy to become so obsessed with the challenges of today that we fail to take stock of the blessings and the strengths that we have today.

We become so obsessed with the challenges of today – and we must meet them – but we often lose sight of the great hope that we have for tomorrow.

Maryland is a leader in life science; Maryland is going to continue to be a leader in life science.  As we defend important investments like stem cell research, like TEDCO, like NanoBio and all of these other things, keep in mind that the most important asset we have of all for the future is the heart and the desire and the belief that we have a calling for greatness – that the rest of the world and the rest of the country needs us.  That’s what these bricks and these mortars symbolize and it is a powerful force once unleashed that can never, ever be stopped.

Thank you all very, very much.  I’m honored to be your fellow citizen.  (Applause)

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