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Freeman A. Hrabowski III

12 April 2012 No Comment

UPDATE: In April, Dr. Hrabowski was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine, joining luminaries like Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg.

Freeman Hrabowski (Photo provided by UMBC)

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, PhD, has served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies committee that recently produced the report “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.”

In 2008, he was named one of America’s best leaders by U.S.News & World Report, which in 2009, 2010, and 2011 ranked UMBC the No. 1 “up and coming” university in the nation. In 2011, U.S.News also ranked UMBC fourth nationally for “best undergraduate teaching”—tied with Yale University and immediately before Brown and Stanford universities. In 2009, Time magazine named him one of America’s 10 best college presidents. In 2011, he received both the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Academic Leadership Award, recognized by many as the nation’s highest awards among higher education leaders. Also in 2011, he was named one of seven “top American leaders” by The Washington Post and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

He serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and universities and school systems nationally. He also serves on the boards of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation (chair), and The Urban Institute. He sits on the boards of Constellation Energy Group, McCormick & Co., and the Baltimore Equitable Society. He is a past member of the board of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Maryland Humanities Council (member and chair).

Other honors include election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society; receiving the prestigious Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education, the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, the Columbia University Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service, and the GE African American Forum ICON Lifetime Achievement Award; being named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Marylander of the Year by the editors of The Baltimore Sun; and being listed among Fast Company magazine’s first Fast 50 Champions of Innovation in business and technology. He also holds honorary degrees from more than 20 institutions—from Harvard, Princeton, and Duke universities to the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, Haverford College, and Harvey Mudd College.           

With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering, and advancing underrepresented minorities in these fields. The program has become a national model, and based on program outcomes, Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books—, Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Males and Overcoming the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Young Women—with, among others, Geoffrey Greif, DSW, MSW, professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Both books, which focus on parenting and high-achieving African-Americans in science, are used by universities, school systems, and community groups throughout the country. 

A child leader in the civil rights movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in 4 Little Girls, Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary about the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Born in 1950 in Birmingham, Hrabowski graduated at age 19 from Hampton Institute with highest honors in mathematics. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he received his MA (mathematics) and four years later his PhD (higher education administration/statistics) at age 24.

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