Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Fall Opening Meeting
Thursday, August 21, 2008

This is the time of year when we come together as a community to focus on the University’s progress – highlighting our accomplishments, goals, and challenges for the year.  I have been enjoying hearing about colleagues’ and students’ summer enrichment and recreational activities as we prepare for the fall semester.               

This past year has been one of transition in many ways, which has allowed us to reflect again on who we are and where we are going as an institution.  For the past two days, a number of campus leaders have been involved in our annual retreat, focusing the attention of campus leaders on our vision as a public research and honors university.  The retreat was especially helpful as we thought about our future in relationship to both demographic and economic opportunities and challenges.  We listened to panels addressing distinctive learning experiences, engaged scholarship and discovery, and civic engagement and social responsibility on campus and beyond.  As might be expected, we took time to look at population trends and enrollment planning as we continue to highlight the importance of student retention and success.  Small groups discussed a variety of critical questions, for example, “What are we doing that is already working well?”  “How do we build on our success?” and “What key ideas and issues are important to consider this year to inform our future development?”  My sense is that colleagues and students left the retreat determined to focus on execution as we think about the next steps in reaching our objectives.

In talking about transitions, let me begin by welcoming our new Provost, Elliot Hirshman, who worked with many of us throughout the past semester and officially began his full-time service here in July.  He and Provost Emeritus Johnson worked carefully with other Vice Presidents, Deans, and faculty leaders in making this transition a smooth one.  Most of you by now know that Elliot comes to us from George Washington University, where he was Chief Research Officer, having previously held faculty and administrative posts at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  His degrees are from Yale (B.A., economics and mathematics) and UCLA (M.A. and Ph.D., psychology).
The new academic year is marked by leadership transitions in other areas too, with several long-standing members of the campus community assuming new roles.  With Scott Bass’s recent departure to become Provost at American University, and following internal searches, Provost Hirshman has made interim appointments in both research and graduate education.  We will build on Scott’s successful efforts over the past 12 years, which focused especially on multidisciplinary collaboration, creative partnerships with external agencies, and both greater inclusiveness and higher completion rates in doctoral studies.  Geoff Summers, Dean of the College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences and former Physics Department Chair, is serving as our Interim Vice President for Research.  Geoff has been instrumental in initiating several campus research initiatives resulting in, among other achievements, our now ranking second among U.S. universities in research funding from NASA.  Janet Rutledge, Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School the past three years, is now Interim Vice Provost for Graduate Education.  As Provost Hirshman noted in his recent campus announcement, she “has helped to champion initiatives to ensure that graduate students from all backgrounds succeed” – efforts for which she has been recognized by the Council of Graduate Schools’ Peterson’s Award for Innovation in Promoting an Inclusive Graduate Community.  Also, Psychology Professor Robert Deluty, a former Presidential Teaching Professor and recipient of the Board of Regents’ Faculty Award for Mentoring, is now serving as Associate Dean of the Graduate School. 

In Student Affairs, Nancy Young became Vice President on July 1st, after serving this past year as Interim Vice President.  Since coming to UMBC in 1986, Nancy has been instrumental in our becoming an increasingly residential campus, and she is passionate about ensuring that students are fully engaged in learning, whether in the residence halls, classrooms, or student activities on campus. 

In Institutional Advancement, Greg Simmons was named Interim Vice President on August 1st, replacing Sheldon Caplis, who, after 15 years as Vice President, recently became Citibank’s Community Relations Vice President for the Maryland-Virginia-Washington, D.C. region.  With Citibank, Sheldon has reversed roles and is now making grants rather than raising money, which he did effectively here.  He also helped us build multi-level partnerships with companies, foundations, and donors that produce scholarship support, internships and employment for students, and research opportunities for faculty.  Greg, who began working at UMBC 15 years ago in the Shriver Center and served most recently as Associate Vice President for Corporate Relations, has a stellar reputation for working effectively with faculty and campus leaders and with many of the region’s companies and foundations.  In addition, I’ve asked Lisa Akchin, Associate Vice President for Marketing & Public Relations, to take on the added role as Assistant to the President, focusing on organizational communications and government and community relations.  In addition to carrying out her regular responsibilities as Associate Vice President, Lisa did a remarkable job in Annapolis this past year. 

Let me mention a few other key administrative changes.  In Administration & Finance, Terry Cook joined us in February as Associate Vice President for Administrative Services, having served in a similar capacity at UMUC and earlier at UMB, and Ben Lowenthal just became Associate Vice President for Financial Services, after serving most recently as Comptroller at UMUC and before that in senior finance positions at UMB and the University of Baltimore.  In Student Affairs, Katie Boone has become Director of Residential Life, having worked previously at College Park, Catholic University, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

What is especially encouraging is that colleges and universities across the country are admiring our progress.  As a result, not only are people interested in coming to work here, but also other institutions are interested in attracting our colleagues.  In recent years, several have accepted senior administrative positions or outstanding faculty appointments at major public and private institutions in a number of states.  At the same time, we have been successful in recent years in attracting colleagues from some of the nation’s best universities to faculty and administrative positions.  We have every reason to be encouraged.

I’m delighted to report to you now on the state of the University, beginning with our budget.  Our total operating budget of $345 million – more than a third of a billion dollars, with revenues from State, Federal, and other sources – includes $190 million in State support (50 percent State appropriation, 40 percent tuition, 10 percent other), including nearly $10 million more than a year ago.  More than $4 million of this increase covers cost-of-living and merit salary increases and benefits for faculty and staff.  We also have allocated funds to increase our pool of need-based financial aid and cover inflation costs on library subscriptions, higher utilities costs, debt payment obligations, and critical facilities renewal projects.  We will receive $450,000 from the State’s new Higher Education Investment Fund to advance our core research facility in microscopy, and $865,000 to support our targeted enrollment growth of nearly 100 additional FTEs this academic year.  Increased State support also means that undergraduate tuition remains frozen for the third straight year because of the Governor’s commitment to affordability.

This year’s State budget is based on reasonable assumptions about revenues and expenditures and, bottom line, our ability to meet our enrollment projections.  Therefore, we will continue to support recruitment and retention, including marketing with support from Institutional Advancement.  We also are building a number of new academic programs approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission over the past year-and-a-half.  These include bachelor’s programs in Media and Communication Studies, Physics Education, Chemistry Education, and Gender & Women’s Studies; a master’s program in Management of Aging Services; undergraduate tracks in Game Development (Computer Science), Animation & Interactive Media (Visual Arts), Public Health (Health Administration & Policy), E-Learning & Instructional Systems Design (Information Systems), Auditing for Information Systems (IS), and Project Management for Information Technology (IS).  Our Continuing & Professional Studies division also continues to play a vital role.  Working closely with the Deans and Department Chairs, the division is attracting growing numbers of students in professional master’s programs and post-baccalaureate certificate programs, introduced over the past two years, that generate new revenues and respond to regional workforce needs.  The division also leads our successful undergraduate and graduate initiatives at the Universities at Shady Grove, enrolling nearly 200 transfer students there.  Our new programs in Biotechnology Management, Engineering Management, and Systems Engineering are off to very strong starts and have already exceeded their enrollment projections.  This fall, new professional master’s programs in Geographic Information Systems and Industrial & Organizational Psychology will begin at our campus at Shady Grove, together with a new undergraduate program in History.  The division also operates UMBC Training Centers, extending the campus’s reach and generating revenues through corporate and online training.

The past fiscal year’s capital budget appropriation of $2.7 million has enabled us to continue planning and design of the new Performing Arts and Humanities Facility, our number-one capital priority.  Faculty, staff, and students have been contributing substantially to the design process, and we expect construction to begin in summer 2010.  The facility will be another major milestone in the campus’s physical transformation, which, over the past 15 years, has included adding new buildings in engineering and information technology, physics, and public policy; renovating our biology and chemistry facilities; adding more than three-quarters of a million square feet of new space for student apartments, the Commons, an addition to the Retriever Activities Center, and new athletic field and stadium facilities.  Let me commend our Physical Plant staff on the overall appearance of the campus and the great job they do maintaining our facilities.

This coming February, we also will complete construction of another new building in the research park to house Erickson Corporation’s IT operations and new Retirement Living TV network.  The new facility will be the last of five buildings located in the park, including two completed this year – the U.S. Geological Survey’s Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Water Science Center and the just-completed, multi-tenant facility that will house engineering, IT, and life-science firms.  Our research park tenants will continue to offer excellent work opportunities for students and collaborations for faculty.  The park is part of bwtech@UMBC Research & Technology Park, which also includes our South Campus facilities.  In total, bwtech@UMBC houses approximately 50 companies in different stages of development and employing about 975 employees and 125 students.

While we’ve been sensitive over the years to the impact of all these developments on the campus landscape, our efforts the past couple of years have been more focused, involving growing numbers of people and building on our strengths.  This past year, I joined more than 300 college presidents in signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment to express our concern about global warming.  I also appointed our new Climate Change Task Force, co-chaired by Economics Professor Virginia McConnell and Administration & Finance Vice President Lynne Schaefer.  The Task Force is spearheading our efforts to develop campus plans to achieve climate neutrality and to take steps to reduce greenhouse gases.  The Task Force has been busy this year, and we can expect to see significant progress this coming year, including completing an inventory of the campus’s greenhouse gas emissions early in the fall, completing our initial action plan, and launching a sustainability website.  Also, as we continue designing our new Performing Arts & Humanities Facility, we will pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, which involves meeting rigorous standards for environmentally sustainable construction.  We are especially fortunate to have so many faculty in wide-ranging fields with expertise in environmental and earth sciences research and education, many of whom serve on the Environmental Council, an ad-hoc group of faculty experts led by Economics Professor Scott Farrow. 

Regarding this year’s student body, we will enroll more than 12,000 students, including approximately 1,575 new freshmen – almost 10 percent more than a year ago – constituting one of our largest freshman classes ever.  The class includes National Merit and National Achievement Scholars, Regents and Maryland Distinguished Scholars, and a number of valedictorians.  Overall, we have students from every state and nearly 150 countries, and we are sending many abroad to study throughout the world.  We’re also enrolling roughly 1,050 new transfers and approximately 2,700 graduate students, up nearly five percent over a year ago, including about 900 new graduate students and larger numbers of domestic students, women, and international students (reversing a five-year decline among this group).  It’s especially significant that graduate enrollment has grown by more than 80 percent over the past decade and is approaching a quarter of our total enrollment.  Our new students exhibit great promise, and we’re committed to helping them succeed.

Our 2008 graduates were an impressive group, winning major awards and going on to top graduate schools and promising professional careers.  They included three of the world’s 100 Gates Cambridge Scholars this year.  (In fact, we have five graduates studying this fall at Cambridge in fields ranging from modern languages to gravitational physics and chemical engineering.)  Recent graduates also received a variety of national awards, e.g., Fulbright, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and Goldwater Scholarships.  Many are beginning graduate programs at top schools across the nation – from Duke in ecology, Cornell in math, Columbia in biology, and Brown, Stanford, and Cal-Berkeley in chemical engineering, to UC-Santa Barbara in English literature, Georgetown and the University of Chicago in international relations, and the University of Michigan in health services administration.  Other graduates are launching careers with a variety of public school systems in Maryland and beyond and with major companies, agencies, and foundations – from ExxonMobil, T. Rowe Price, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin to the National Institutes of Health and Social Security Administration. 

This also was an extraordinary year for our intercollegiate athletics program and student-athletes, who’ve made all of us “Retriever Believers.”  Athletic Director Charlie Brown and his staff have every reason to be very proud.  The men’s basketball team won the 2008 America East championship, advancing to the first round of the “Big Dance” – the NCAA national tournament – where they faced the nationally ranked Georgetown team in Raleigh, N.C.  Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends traveled to Raleigh for the game – UMBC’s first appearance in the national tournament in our 22-year Division-I history.  It was an exhilarating experience for the team and the entire campus.  Coach Randy Monroe was named the America East men’s basketball Coach of the Year.

Similarly, men’s lacrosse coach Don Zimmerman was named conference Coach of the Year for his leadership and the conference championship performance of this year’s team, which advanced to the first round of the NCAA tournament before falling to the no.2-seeded University of Virginia team in a 10-9 loss.  The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, coached by UMBC graduate Chad Cradock, also won 2008 America East championships.  In addition, veteran baseball coach John Jancuska received conference Coach of the Year honors, while tennis coach Keith Puryear was named Mid-Atlantic College Coach of the Year by the U.S. Professional Tennis Association.

Our student-athletes also distinguished themselves academically, with more than half earning gpas of 3.0 or higher.  Recent graduate Jessica Young epitomizes our scholar-athletes: a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa inductee, and all-conference performer on the women’s soccer team, Jessica completed internships at Princeton and in the U.S. Congress and was one of two finalists for this year’s Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year and is beginning her graduate studies at American University. 

Our faculty also have distinguished themselves this year.  In the spring, for example, we recognized Presidential Teaching and Research Professors Tim Topoleski, in Mechanical Engineering, and Thomas Mathew, in Mathematics & Statistics, who reflect the faculty’s commitment to students in the classroom, through research, and by mentoring.  Chris Corbett, in English, received the Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring for his outstanding work with students, particularly those interested in journalism careers, and David Yager, in Visual Arts, received the University System’s endowed Wilson H. Elkins Professorship.  Other faculty receiving prestigious awards include Carolyn Tice, Associate Dean and program Chair in Social Work, who received a Fulbright award; Ray Hoff, who leads our Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) and Goddard Earth Sciences & Technology Center (GEST), who was named an American Meteorological Society Fellow; both Julia Ross, Chair of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, and Tulay Adali, in Computer Science & Electrical Engineering, were elected American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering Fellows; Govind Rao, also in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, was elected an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow; Marie-Christine Daniel, in Chemistry & Biochemistry, received the American Association for Cancer Research-Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Career Development Award; Kate Brown, in History, received the Kennan Institute Research Scholarship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Brian Grodsky, in Political Science, received an East European Studies Center Award from the Woodrow Wilson Center; and Zena Hitz, in Philosophy, received a Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies Fellowship.  The list of other faculty receiving awards and fellowships across the full spectrum of disciplines is too long to include in my remarks; immediately attached are additional examples.

Several staff members also were recognized for their work this year.  The Regents recognized Cathy Bielawski, in the College of Engineering & Information Technology, with the Regents’ Staff Award for Outstanding Service to Students; Earnestine Baker, Executive Director of the Meyerhoff Program, and Karen Sweeney-Jett, in Institutional Advancement, with the Regents’ Staff Award for Extraordinary Public Service to the campus; and Patti Martin, in Student Support Services, and Dennis Cuddy, in Chemistry & Biochemistry, with the Regents’ Staff Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Mission of the campus.  Our own Presidential Distinguished Staff Award winners this year include Danita Eichenlaub, in GEST and JCET, and Ethel Haskins-Cotton, in University Health Services.  Lynne Schaefer was selected as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record, and The Chronicle of Higher Education identified Dale Bittinger, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, as one of “10 Admissions Deans Who Are Shaping Their Field.”  Kudos to all of our award-winning faculty and staff. 

Another top priority this year, and in the future, is to continue building our research portfolio and increasing our sponsored programs, which totaled approximately $87 million this past fiscal year.  Faculty and staff have built strong relationships with external partners – from NASA, NSF, and NIH to the U.S. Department of Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, and other research universities.  These partnerships not only produce funding and major research-and-training opportunities for faculty and students, but also contribute to our rising national reputation.  In Federal funding, NASA remains our largest source, and NSF and NIH are our next two heaviest supporters.

In one particularly exciting development this year, UMBC researchers are leading a six-university team on a $7.5 million, five-year Multi-Disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.  The UMBC group, collaborating with colleagues from Purdue, the University of Illinois, University of Michigan, and University of Texas at Dallas and San Antonio, is working to translate recommendations by the 9-11 Commission for more effectively sharing classified information into a technology network that both works and is secure. 

Our research success depends increasingly on multi-disciplinary approaches and the work of our centers, including the Center for Research & Exploration in Space Science & Technology (CRESST), the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR), GEST, JCET, the Center for Urban Environmental Research & Education (CUERE), our HHMI lab, the Joint Center for Astrophysics, and our NSF Engineering Research Center with Princeton, Hopkins, Rice, and others.  One indication of our emergence as a leader in environmental sciences is that Science Watch, which monitors worldwide trends and performance in basic research, ranks our faculty third in the number of geosciences publications and citations.  Also, responding to growing demand by Federal and company labs for access to advanced scientific equipment, we’ve been successful in creating core research facilities in proteomics, scientific imaging, high-performance computing (Multicore Computational Center, MC2, in partnership with IBM), and photonics that can be shared by scientists and engineers.  Other significant funding and partnering success stories include a variety of initiatives ranging from K-16 math-science education to history and the arts; these initiatives involve our Imaging Research Center, Center for History Education, Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture, the Hilltop Institute (formerly the Center for Health Program Development & Management), the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis & Research, and the Choice Program and other Shriver Center activities.

In terms of diversity, the retreat participants highlighted the importance of celebrating our strengths while working to understand the broad challenges we face.  We continue to receive national visibility for our successful initiatives focused on women and minorities in science and engineering – from WISE (our Women in Science & Engineering program), ADVANCE (our NSF program for recruiting and advancing women faculty), and CWIT (our Center for Women & Information Technology, now headed by Professor and Interim Director Penny Rheingans, in Computer Science & Electrical Engineering), to the McNair and undergraduate and graduate Meyerhoff Scholars Programs for preparing minority researchers, and our PROMISE and AGEP (Alliance for Graduate Education & the Professoriate) programs to increase the numbers of minority graduate students in STEM fields.  We are one of the nation’s campuses where women hold the majority of tenure-track positions in chemical and biochemical engineering.  More generally, since 2000, when WISE was launched, the number of women faculty in STEM departments has more than doubled – from 20 to 44 – with at least a doubling in all ranks.  In addition, we have all been encouraged by the growing number of students selecting the new major in Gender & Women’s Studies. 

The campus also continues to attract national attention as a model for producing minority science-and-engineering graduates.  Because of our success in this area, which we addressed in a major symposium in April marking the Meyerhoff Program’s 20th anniversary, I’ve had the honor this year both of testifying before the Congressional Subcommittee on Research & Science Education and of now chairing the National Academies’ Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the Science & Engineering Workforce Pipeline.  What’s particularly significant about UMBC’s work in these areas is that the lessons we’ve learned are benefiting all of our students and are being replicated nationwide.  Moreover, our success in both attracting outstanding students from all backgrounds and helping them succeed academically is why The Princeton Review, in its newly released rankings of U.S. colleges, The Best 368 Colleges: 2009 Edition, ranked UMBC second among the nation’s “Most Diverse Student Populations,” taking into account not only the statistical diversity of our student body (37 percent), but also survey responses from students and administrators.  Yet, we recognize the need as a community to be even more inclusive as we think about representation of different groups among the faculty, staff, and students.  For example, we have instituted special efforts to increase the number of Latino students, and the results have been positive (e.g., a 20-percent increase in the number of Latino freshmen this fall).  In addition, I had the opportunity to work with the Executive Committee of the Freedom Alliance this past spring and was very impressed by their ideas about how we can become more supportive as a campus.

In the light of all these positive developments, we continue to make significant progress in our fundraising.  As we begin the final year of the Campaign for UMBC, we have raised more than $89 million toward our $100-million goal, including major gifts this past year for the Linehan Artist Scholars Program, Erickson School, and Meyerhoff Program.  We’ve also attracted major gifts from IBM and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which are helping the College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences and the College of Engineering & Information Technology increase their research efforts.  Gifts from the Shattuck Family Foundation, Wachovia, and local business leaders Greg Barnhill and Ben Griswald are supporting our efforts to infuse entrepreneurship throughout the curriculum.  Across all of our disciplines, we are building endowment support reflecting our campaign priorities, including student scholarships, fellowships, and internships, faculty development and research, and endowed chairs and professorships.  Our endowment today stands at slightly more than $60 million compared to $43 million two years ago and just $3.5 million in 1996.  I want to thank faculty and staff who have supported the Campaign for your generous spirit.  With most major campaign gifts thus far coming from corporations and a handful of individual donors, our challenge is to continue encouraging even greater support from those who know us best.  In this last year of the Campaign, we will continue working to engage alumni more fully in the life of the campus and develop a strong foundation of alumni giving.  Creating a culture of philanthropy is critical in our development, and all of us have a role to play.             

Our achievements also continue to produce heightened visibility, including pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Science, among others.  We’re also attracting to campus a steady stream of people who want to learn about us.  Over the past year, we’ve hosted visits by leaders of national agencies, corporations, foundations, other major universities, and school systems.  And our faculty, staff, and students have traveled extensively, speaking not only about their own interests and experiences, but also about the UMBC experience.  More and more people are learning about us.  In fact, college presidents and provosts across the country have rated UMBC no.5 among 20 national universities to watch – “schools that have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus, or facilities” – in the new U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Colleges guide that will be on the newsstands tomorrow.

Greater attention and more investment require even greater accountability to ensure that our image is substantive.  Because of our growth in contracts and grants, Federal and State funding agencies are routinely conducting more audits.  Given such scrutiny, we must focus even more attention on our research infrastructure and on how well we understand and comply with requirements and restrictions governing our sponsored activities.  Also, we expect State legislative auditors to return to campus this year for their next major campuswide audit, and we continue working to be sure that we’ve sufficiently addressed the recommendations and findings from their 2006 audit.  Finally, University System auditors have been working with us this past year helping us strengthen our compliance efforts in a variety of areas.  Such regular scrutiny reminds us of our responsibility to stay focused on quality, responsiveness, integrity, and accountability. 

We also will continue focusing over several years on three major priorities identified by the University System and discussed on campus by Chancellor Kirwan at the retreat yesterday: first, closing the achievement gap, which, for UMBC, means reaching parity between the six-year graduation rates both of African American and white transfer students and of transfer students and full-time, first-time freshmen; second, addressing climate change, on which our Climate Change Task Force is taking the lead; and third, supporting Maryland’s STEM-related competitiveness, which we are doing in numerous ways, from producing STEM graduates (we have nearly twice the percentage of STEM bachelor’s degree recipients as any other USM campus) to building STEM-education partnerships, faculty research, and technology development. 

Of course, PeopleSoft implementation also remains an important administrative priority.  We continue to make steady progress, and our systems are giving us increasing internal control and transparency in fiscal and personnel management.  This past year, we conducted a satisfaction survey of those who use the HR and Finance modules, two-thirds of whom were “satisfied” or “highly satisfied” with the systems’ overall performance.  We will spend this year addressing issues raised by the one-third who were less than satisfied.  We also upgraded the HR system and prepared for implementing the Student Administration (SA) system.  We have been well served by the project team, academic advisory committee, project governance structure, and our consulting implementation partner.  This year, we plan to roll out the SA system, beginning in a few weeks with the Admissions module, followed by the Financial Aid, Student Records, and Student Billing modules.  We plan to have our first registration using SA in March – for the summer and fall 2009 terms.  From that point, all students and faculty will have access through the myUMBC portal to many new and improved self-service functions, including class registration, advisement information, transcripts, bills, financial aid information, and other features.  Our multi-year PeopleSoft initiative will touch virtually every administrative and academic unit, and almost every student, faculty, and staff member.  Training for users will continue to be an important priority.  Again, thanks to all who have worked so hard in recent years to implement these new systems in your units.  We continue to appreciate your commitment and positive approach.
This past week, I had the opportunity to speak to teachers in several public school systems – from Boston to Beaufort County, South Carolina.  I was delighted to tell the teachers in Beaufort about a young African American women who grew there and was accepted into the Meyerhoff Program, graduated with a 3.9 in biology and a strong concentration in the social sciences, and is beginning the M.D./Ph.D. program this month at Johns Hopkins University with a special interest in health disparities.  As I said to the Beaufort educators, imagine a young African American woman who grew up in the deep South who is on her way to becoming one of the world’s leading experts on health disparities.  We at UMBC can take great pride in Julie Fields’s success.  What her story says to all of us is that we make a difference – our work is noble because we transform lives.
Now in our fifth decade, we will continue to succeed by continuing to put people first – supporting and guiding students as they learn and grow; supporting faculty in their research and teaching; supporting staff in their work with students and colleagues; and responding to the needs of our growing external constituents.
Whether you’ve been here for decades or recently arrived, you make a difference through your contributions.  I’m celebrating my 22nd year on campus this fall and my 17th as President – and I want you to know how much I appreciate the support you have given me throughout the years.  We have become not only an Honors University in Maryland, but a distinctive model in American higher education – combining the traditions of the liberal arts academy, the creative intensity of the research university, and the social responsibility of the public university.

As I say every year at this time, it is an honor each day to serve as President.  Thank you.


Additional Examples of Prestigious Faculty Awards & Fellowships 

In Mechanical Engineering, Anne Spence received the 2008 Outstanding Change Agent Award of Excellence from the Maryland State Department of Education, and former Dean Shlomo Carmi received the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from the District of Columbia Council of Engineering & Architectural Societies and was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering.

In Biological Sciences, Tamra Mendelson and Hua Lu received NSF Career Advancement Awards, and Jeff Leips received Geneticist-Educator Network of Alliances (GENA) certification from the American Society of Human Genetics.

In Mathematics & Statistics, Andrew Rukhin received the American Statistical Association’s W.J. Youden Award in Interlaboratory Testing; Anindya Roy received the Outstanding Young Statistician Award from the International Indian Statisticians Association; and Chair Nagaraj Neerchal received the Outstanding Service Recognition Award from the Maryland Chapter of the American Statistical Association.

Bill Thomas, in the Erickson School, received the American College of Health Care Administrators’ Public Service Award.

In Visual Arts, John Sturgeon became UMBC’s second Lipitz Professor of the Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, and Ellen Handler Spitz was elected to membership in the New York Institute for the Humanities.

Amy Froide, in History, received the Huntington Library Fellowship Award.

Bruce Walz, in Emergency Health Services, was elected President of Advocates for EMS.

Piotr Gwiazda, in English, was the James Merrill Writer-in-Residence at the James Merrill House in Stonington, Connecticut.

Isabel Galindo, in Modern Languages & Linguistics, received the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s Henry C. Welcome Fellowship.

Marvin Mandell, in Public Policy, was elected Vice President and President-Elect of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs & Administration.