Freeman Hrabowski

Portrait of Freeman A. Hrabowski, III.
Portrait of Freeman A. Hrabowski, III. University Archives. 50UMBC-063. View larger

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, UMBC’s current president, took the helm after the departure of President Michael Hooker in 1992. Hrabowski has had particular success in improving achievement in higher education for minorities in STEM programs. In 1988, while serving as vice provost, Hrabowski co-founded the now nationally-recognized Meyerhoff Scholars Program with philanthropists Robert and Jane Meyerhoff.

Hrabowski has continued to develop UMBC into a truly competitive university. U.S. News & World Report ranked UMBC the number one “Up and Coming University” for six consecutive years from 2009-2014. The school has seen its endowment funding increase from $1 million to more than $70 million. Hrabowski himself holds an astounding number of achievements: in 2009 Hrabowski was named one of Time’s “10 Best College Presidents”; in 2011 The Washington Post named him one of seven “Top American Leaders”; in 2012 he received the Heinz Award, was placed on Time’s “100 Most Influential People” list, and President Obama appointed him chair of his Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African-Americans.

Bigger Purposes by Childs Walker
"Bigger Purposes" by Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, September 2, 2012. University Archives. View full document

When UMBC opened, just a handful of buildings on an old farm, 30 miles from College Park and 8 miles from the downtown professional schools, the new faculty and first classes of students reported a sense of excitement at the possibility of the new school. Many in the community were not so sure, and as the direction of the university has evolved this support has evolved, too. In the past decade there has been a new sense of excitement not just on campus but nationwide, spurred on by higher honors in university rankings, national news profiles, and a growing network of accomplished alumni touting the success of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This example, a front page story in the Baltimore Sun, trumpets UMBC’s profile and future.

UMBC’s campus leaders have continually looked to the future of what UMBC may someday become, as demonstrated by Albin O. Kuhn’s yellow notes pads, Calvin Lee’s Project 2000, and even Michael Hooker’s ill-fated suggestion at a new name for the university. These formal and informal predictions continue today, but campus administrators and working groups also put substantial time and consideration into the work of the Strategic Planning process. Strategic plans identify the trajectory of the university - what strengths (and weaknesses) of the current system can be addressed in order to guide our path towards greater cooperation, scholarship, and community. This dynamic vision for the campus looks to the future of UMBC and guides the present day decisionmaking.