Michael Hooker

President Michael Hooker by Bo Rader
Chancellor Michael Hooker by Bo Rader, July 24, 1992. Baltimore Sun photographs, P2014-01-0134. View larger

Michael Kenneth Hooker (1945-1999) followed John Dorsey as chancellor of the university in 1986. Hooker looked forward to the challenge UMBC presented as it did not yet have a widely-recognized reputation or competitive status. Although Hooker earned his doctorate in philosophy, he was intrigued by the idea of developing UMBC into a full-fledged research institution. Under his leadership, entrance scores at the university surpassed 1000 and enrollment grew. He also built relationships with the local business community, leading to investments in science and technology research programs. Hooker personally recruited current President Freeman Hrabowski for the position of vice provost from Coppin State University, where Hrabowski was serving as dean and vice president of academic affairs. In 1992, Hooker left UMBC to become president of the five-school University of Massachusetts System.

Chancellor Michael Hooker at his installation ceremony by Irving H. Phillips, Jr.
Chancellor Michael Hooker at his installation ceremony by Irving H. Phillips, Jr., October 29, 1986. Baltimore Sun photographs, P2014-01-0135. View larger

"All institutions of higher education seek to preserve the past. We are citadels of learning, guardians of culture. We recognize that the past is prologue, and know that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. But progressive institutions seek also to read the future, to analyze trends, and to develop alternative scenarios in response. The best institutions do this in order to ensure that the liberal, scholarly traditions influences the shape of the society to come."
-Michael Hooker from his installation speech as chancellor October 29, 1986

Name Change Questionnaire distributed to Faculty Senate Documents
Name Change Questionnaire distributed to Faculty Senate, October 19, 1990. President's office records, Collection 50, Box 65, Folder 9. View larger

In September 1987, President Michael Hooker informally proposed three new names for UMBC: 1) Maryland State University; 2) Maryland State University and Technical Institute; and 3) Maryland Institute of Technology. The topic was later taken up by the Faculty Senate Committee on Statewide Reorganization and they distributed a name change questionnaire. The committee reported that of the 431 respondents, “96% thought another name was preferable, or at least acceptable. 90% thought another name was preferable." University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus received the majority of the votes, although the committee recommended University of Maryland Baltimore Campus of Arts, Sciences, and Technology (still shortened to UMBC). Ultimately, Chancellor Donald Langenberg decided to set aside the name change issue to focus on UMBC’s fit and distinction within the University System of Maryland before defining the campus through a new name. The name change debate arose again in 2010 in a Baltimore Sun editorial, which suggested some of President Hooker’s original ideas such as Maryland State University and Maryland Institute of Technology, among others.