2008 UMBC Alumni of the Year & Distinguished Service Award Winners

Published: Feb 8, 2008

Each year, the UMBC Alumni Association presents awards to honor alumni for their professional and personal achievements and service to the University.   Learn more about our past award winners.


Eric Conn ’85, Computer Science, is an accomplished entrepreneur, executive, technologist, and software engineer and a member of the board of UMBC’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship. He is the president and co-founder of Gloto Corporation, which specializes in the design, development, and deployment of innovative products that integrate mobile devices and computers. In 2006 Gloto launched Cellblock.com, which allows users to instantly publish photos and videos from their computers or camera phones to a shared, online photo album. This technology was used to highlight participation at UMBC’s 40th Anniversary. As guests watched from in front of the Library and other locations, real-time photos from events happening all over campus were instantly posted and shared, creating a unique, campus-wide experience for thousands of visitors that night – a new twist that took the concept of a traditional photo album and turned it into a social event.


Kara Lee Corthron ’99, Theatre, is an award-winning playwright whose works depict the challenges brought by economic circumstances and the power of the human spirit. “Wild Black-Eyed Susans,” which was performed during UMBC’s Homecoming in 2007, earned Corthron the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights in 2007.  Another work, “Like a Cow or an Elephant,” received the 2007 Theodore Ward Prize for African-American Playwrights and was produced at the DePaul Theatre School in Chicago. Her work “End-Zone Zephyr” earned Corthron the 2006 New Professional Theatre Writer’s Award. Corthron is a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Program at the Juilliard School in New York, where she has been playwright-in-residence, and is also a three-time recipient of the Lincoln Center’s Lecomte du Nouy Foundation Award


The Honorable Marcella A. Holland ’80, Political Science, is Chief Administrative Judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. She was first sworn in as an Associate Judge in 1997, having served as an assistant state’s attorney for 13 years. Judge Holland oversees a $15 million budget and the work of 31 other active judges, several retired judges and several masters. Among her honors are Maryland’s “Top 100 Women” and induction in the “Circle of Excellence” in 2004; and the Ben Cardin Pro Bono Service Award from the University of Maryland School of Law, her alma mater. She has an extensive record of community service with organizations including Associated Black Charities and the Druid Hill YMCA. She is also active in bar associations, having served as President, Monumental City Bar Association; Member, Board of Governors, Maryland State Bar Association; and President, MD Chapter of National Association of Women Judges


Kevin M. Maxwell ’02 Ph.D., Language, Literacy & Culture, is the superintendent of schools for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, a position he has held since 2006. An educator for more than 20 years, he also has served as chief educational administrator in Prince George’s County Public Schools, where he also taught, and as one of six community superintendents within the Montgomery County Public Schools system, as well as a principal in both counties. Under his leadership as principal, Walter Johnson High School in Montgomery County was named one of the 100 best high schools in the United States. In 2000 he received the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award and he was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2004


Stephanie Reel ’85, Information Systems, is vice provost for information technology and chief information officer for the Johns Hopkins University. Since 1994, she has also been vice president for information services for the Johns Hopkins Hospital. As the CIO for all divisions of the university and health system, Reel leads operational redesign for information services, networking, telecommunications, as well as clinical research and instructional technologies. Her work to develop electronic patient records management has been honored by Computerworld magazine and the Smithsonian Institution, and she has been named CIO of the Year by the College of Healthcare Information Management executives. She is a member of EDUCAUSE, the Healthcare Information Systems Executive Association, and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology and she serves on the client advisory boards of IBM, GE Medical Systems, Verizon, the editorial advisory board of Healthcare Informatics magazine and the Information Systems Advisory Council for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Reid C. Thompson ’85, Biological Sciences, is vice chairman of neurological surgery, director of the Vanderbilt Brain Tumor Center, and associate professor of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Thompson received his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he completed his internship and residency, followed by a fellowship in cerebrovascular surgery at Stanford. A diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, he also is the author or more than 30 published research papers and abstracts. Thompson’s expertise is in the surgical treatment of patients with complex brain and spinal cord tumors, particularly those involving the most critical parts of the brain such as the brain stem and skull base.

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