President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a fierce advocate for science and math education for minority students
Date of Interview:
Friday, September 19, 2008
Baltimore, MD. - University of Maryland Baltimore County
Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski has been president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992. Hrabowski holds an undergraduate degree from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in mathematics, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research and publications place special emphasis on minority participation and performance in science and math education. He has built his career in academia, holding positions at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Alabama A&M University, Coppin State College, and UMBC.
At UMBC, Hrabowski co-founded the highly successful Meyerhoff Scholarship program, whose goal is to increase the number of African Americans earning doctorates and to bolster the number of African American college faculty members in mathematics and the sciences. Under his leadership, UMBC has become one of the nation’s leading sources of African-American Ph.D.s in science and engineering. In 2009 and 2010, US News & World Report ranked UMBC number one as the “up and coming” university in the nation for its commitment to undergraduate teaching.
Born in 1952 in Birmingham, Alabama, Hrabowski became involved in a civil rights demonstration led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at age twelve. Alongside King and other demonstrators, he spent a week in jail.
Hrabowski has co-authored Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds, publications focusing on effective ways to encourage high achievement in African Americans in science.
In 2008, Hrabowski was named one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report. Time Magazine named him one of the top ten college presidents. He was the only African American in the group.
In 2011, Hrabowski was honored with the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence as well as the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Academic Leadership Award. That same year, he was also recognized by both the Washington Post and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. Today, Hrabowski continues his deep involvement in promoting the sciences as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and others.