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November 3, 2011

Carnegie Corporation Honors UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski with 2011 Academic Leadership Award

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Carnegie Corporation Honors Freeman A. Hrabowski III and Eduardo J. Padrón with 2011 Academic Leadership Award

New York, New York, November 3, 2011— Carnegie Corporation of New York today announced that Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College (MDC), have been awarded the foundation’s Centennial Academic Leadership Award. The honorees will be recognized on November 10 at a dinner celebrating the foundation’s centennial, to be held at Carnegie Hall.

The award recognizes individuals who, in addition to fulfilling their administrative and managerial roles with dedication and creativity, have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to excellence and equity in undergraduate education, curricular innovation, the liberal arts, reform of K-12 education, and the promotion of strong links between their institution and their local communities.

Carnegie Corporation honors awardees with grants of $500,000 each to be used at their discretion in support of their academic initiatives.

Hrabowski’s award recognizes his development of a culture of excellence and success in preparing students of all backgrounds to become Ph.D. scientists and engineers. Beginning with dynamic initiatives in science, technology, engineering, and math, Hrabowski has infused principles of excellence and teaching innovation throughout the university. (Read more about innovation at UMBC here.)

Padrón was selected for innovations that have contributed to a culture of success that has produced impressive results in student access, retention and graduation rates, and overall achievement at a school with a predominantly low-income and minority student population.

“Presidents Hrabowski and Padrón have been powerful voices advocating for a robust undergraduate education that strives for excellence and creates an environment for students—especially low-income, minority and immigrant students—in which success is the norm,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “They have each committed their institution to serving its community and have demonstrated that excellence in leadership is far more than effective management alone. Presidents Hrabowski and Padrón have proved that presidential leadership, faculty quality and most importantly, a dedication to placing the needs of the students above all else, are the critical elements that distinguish one university from another."

Hrabowski plans to use his $500,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation to start the Freeman A. Hrabowski Fund for Academic Innovation, which will support investments by the President's Office in faculty, staff, and student initiatives that promote a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and student success. These initiatives might include course design and redesign; development of unique classroom environments that support active learning and team-based learning; lab- and project-based capstone courses; faculty fellowships; peer-learning initiatives and more.

The Hrabowski Fund will grow from the initial grant into a larger endowed fund generating annual income for program and faculty support.

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
Since becoming President of the UMBC in 1992, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, a mathematician by training, has worked with faculty and staff members, trustees, and others to build a mid-sized public research university that is engaged with the larger community, emphasizes teaching at the undergraduate level, and offers model programs to improve access to and success in higher education.

Among Hrabowski’s many innovations is the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, which he co-founded with philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff in 1988 to increase diversity among future leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The program has become a national model for preparing undergraduate minority students to go on to earn Ph.D.’s in STEM-related fields.

From their first semester in the program, Meyerhoff Scholars are engaged in research, often in the labs of eminent scientists, and begin to develop a deeper appreciation of what studying science entails. Program staff members and the students draw on a network of contacts to design summer research internships at UMBC and other institutions nationwide, including such federal agencies as the National Institutes of Health, major corporations, other academic institutions, and research centers like the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Today, more African-American bachelor’s degree recipients go on from UMBC to complete Ph.D.’s in STEM fields than from any other predominantly white university in the country. Moreover, UMBC is among the top 10 universities in public policy research productivity; is one of the top two Ph.D. granting universities in the production of information technology degrees at the undergraduate, master’s, and graduate levels; ranks third in research citations in the geosciences; and has scholars in the arts and humanities who are published by such prestigious academic presses as Oxford, Princeton, and Harvard.

Lessons from the Meyerhoff program have informed important innovative changes throughout the curriculum, including course redesigns in chemistry, psychology, and other disciplines, as well as successful efforts to address the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. A number of universities across the county have also replicated the principles of the Meyerhoff program.

Through effective partnerships with faculty and staff, Hrabowski has infused the ethos of inclusive excellence found in the Meyerhoff program throughout the campus. UMBC sets high expectations for all students, and helps to ensure their success by offering a nurturing and supportive environment with opportunities for mentoring and training, as well as ample academic and career guidance.

Past Winners
Previous recipients of the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award are Henry S. Bienen, president of Northwestern University (2005); Jared Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University (2005); Don Randel, president of the University of Chicago (2005); Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of The City University of New York (2007); Robert J. Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (2008); Nancy Cantor, chancellor and president of Syracuse University (2008); Leon Botstein, president of Bard College (2009); Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University (2009); Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania (2009); and William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland (2009).

About the Centennial Academic Leadership Award
Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Centennial Academic Leadership Award is more than an award. It is an investment in leadership, building on the foundation's long tradition of developing and recognizing dedication, excellence, innovation, and impact in higher education. In the Carnegie Quarterly of April 1959, published during the presidency of John Gardner, the strength of the Corporation's grants program was described as seeking to be “as responsive as possible to the expressed concerns of college and university leaders” and to “lend itself to the kinds of giving which will strengthen the institution in terms which the president considers necessary.” The award continues a Carnegie Corporation higher education tradition.

Nominations are solicited from previous winners, as well as from the leaders of national higher education organizations. Nominations are carefully reviewed, with particular scrutiny given to candidates' sustained records of innovation and accomplishment. Carnegie Corporation does not accept unsolicited nominations or recommendations.

Posted by eashburn at November 3, 2011 12:01 PM