Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Vision for UMBC

BOND: Now, has your vision changed over time? You had one here and then it changed in some form or fashion, and if so, how?

HRABOWSKI: Sure. My vision for myself has changed. My vision for my -- I think in each case it’s broadened, but been refined in different ways for myself, for the institution, as I think about the country. There are changes. There are differences. For the University, for years we have seen our institution, UMBC, as a place that is a major resource for this region and for producing all kinds of leaders from the sciences to the arts, but we’ve been growing in national stature and now more than ever, we’re seen as a national model for public universities as one of the few examples in the country of excellence in diversity -- diversity meaning international and domestic diversity -- and as an extraordinarily entrepreneurial place with dozens of companies that we’ve created here. So, it becomes a model that we talk about, that I talk about around the country that has national implications.

For myself, for years I was focused on the academic side and truly interested in seeing how to support building excellent programs at the institution where I was working and making UMBC the very best academically in terms of research and teaching and all that’s still very important. Then we added on the entrepreneurship part and research part and entrepreneurship, and so I became more of a business person getting connected with corporations and understanding much more about partnerships between companies and the University and most recently for me personally, my work with foundations with the issues of poor and working-class people in understanding the challenges that they face has become an important part of what I’m doing.