The Rosslyn-based university that’s lending a hand in its own backyard
Global online university donates $50,000 to support Arlington’s small businesses through the pandemic
It’s clear when you drive through Arlington that there is no shortage of opportunities for higher education. With satellite campuses for Marymount University, George Mason, Rosslyn’s UVA Darden location and more, there are plenty of programs for Arlington’s residents to progress their careers or pursue undergraduate and advanced degrees. But one program that you might not have seen, but is well known throughout the U.S. and beyond, is the locally-founded University of Management and Technology (UMT). The Rosslyn BID recently sat down with co-founders J. Davidson Frame and Yanping Chen to discuss the university’s growth, and their decision to donate funds to stimulate the economy where it all began, right here in Rosslyn. Here’s a summary of our conversation.
A university rooted in Rosslyn
Founded in Rosslyn in 1998, UMT’s headquarters sit at 1901 Fort Myer Dr (right next door to the BID!). As lifelong educators, Dr. Chen and Dr. Frame noticed the rapidly advancing technological worlds that surrounded them and sought to differentiate UMT from other universities from its inception. As a school fully dedicated to online learning, they opened the door to national and international students to pursue undergraduate or advanced degrees and certifications, from anywhere in the world. Now, UMT boasts students throughout the United States and in eighty-seven countries.
Giving back where it all began
As longtime Arlington residents themselves, Chen and Frame have been integral parts of the community. While both have had illustrious careers in their own right, as accomplished doctors, scientists, researchers and technical authors, they also have shared experiences as former professors at The George Washington University and as active members on the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Board of Directors.
Together, they created the Chen Frame Foundation, designed to support educational programs across the globe. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit our local economy, Chen and Frame refocused their efforts to their own backyard. This was the driving force behind the recent $50,000 donation from the Chen Frame Foundation to Arlington Economic Development (AED), which will go towards helping our local small businesses.
“Because our focus has historically been on educational programs such as scholarships, nonprofits, etc., supporting small businesses and our local economy is new to us,” Chen said of the donation. “But as a local organization — and as locals ourselves — we’re fully committed to giving back, and to continuing our support right here in Arlington.”
A bright future for tech and UMT in Rosslyn
It’s clear that UMT isn’t the only program to recognize Arlington as the next hub for tech companies. From Amazon’s HQ2 location currently under development in National Landing, to the recent announcement of Microsoft's new lease in Rosslyn, the DMV has steadily been making a name for itself in the industry.
And with a specialty in project management that makes their programs widely applicable, UMT has been working with a lot of the existing international players in Rosslyn and the neighboring areas for sometime. This includes everything from Deloitte to government branches like the Department of Defense, the IRS, The White House and more.
“Given how close we are to the nation’s capital, not to mention the Pentagon, it’s about time a lot of these major players started moving in.” Dr. Frame told the BID. “The proximity to D.C., coupled with the area's potential for growth as a tech hub is what drew us here, and what keeps us here now and will into the future.”
Now with over 1,000 graduates every year, UMT’s programs are increasingly relevant as the job market becomes more and more competitive, and project management certifications and skills become more valuable. But even with this global reach, UMT is intent on keeping Arlington’s small businesses, and students, a priority. And next year, once it’s safe to do so, Dr. Chen and Dr. Frame hope to be able to lead another graduating class of UMT students to throw their caps at the base of the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn, as they have done with every class since 1998.