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Power Surge: Jay Freyman

While UMBC was forging ahead into the frontiers of science and technology, ancient studies professor Jay Freyman’s 8 a.m. Latin class remained a standing-room-only attraction. As director of the Honors College for 11 years and a member of the faculty for more than 30, Freyman has made his mark at UMBC as a champion of a broad liberal-arts-based education and has been a role model, personal counselor, career advisor, and mentor to hundreds—if not thousands—of UMBC students through the years. “Jay personifies the college’s motto, ‘Learning for Living,’” says Provost Arthur Johnson.

Under Freyman’s leadership, the Honors College has doubled its enrollment, expanded its course offerings, and added a variety of outside-the-classroom experiences, including trips to the theatre, opera, and museums in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York, and study-travel programs to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Personalized advising and mentoring, small seminar classes, and an emphasis on writing are some of the other tenets of the Honors College program, which has a competitive admission procedure and attracts high-achieving high school students with an inherent eagerness for learning.

Freyman also can be credited with helping to make UMBC a Phi Beta Kappa institution. Along with a number of faculty colleagues (all members of Phi Beta Kappa), Freyman doggedly pursued Phi Beta Kappa membership, a goal that took nearly 10 years to achieve. “The day I learned UMBC would be honored with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter is one of the most significant events in my 30-year professional career,” Freyman says. This is not to downplay his other honors, which include being named UMBC’s first Presidential Teaching Professor in 1989 and the Carnegie Foundation’s Maryland Professor of the Year in 1993. In 2001, he received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ highest honor, a Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

“A university,” Freyman often reminds his students, “is supposed to give you the universe.” With the Honors College serving as the model for other special scholars’ programs in the arts, humanities, public affairs, and information technology, Jay Freyman has set the foundation for building UMBC’s future as “An Honors University in Maryland.”

Freeman Hrabowski on Creating an Honors University
10 honored Professors | UMBC Alumni: 10 Outcomes | UMBC Staff: Giving 110%