Ask the President – Fall 2017

By: Jenny O'Grady
Oct 2, 2017

(Students speaking to President Hrabowski)

UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski takes your questions.

Q: A majority of our alumni live in Maryland. How does the university plan to leverage that population to expand UMBC’s community impact in the coming years?

— Nicole Smith ’10, modern languages and linguistics, and president of the Chapter of Young Alumni

A: The exciting news is that we already are working in a number of ways with thousands of alumni who live in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and across the State. We bring alumni back to give us advice on everything involving the university, from the academic side to the future of the institution’s relationships. In fact, alumni played key roles in working to help UMBC develop its most recent strategic plan.

Our alumni affairs office works to collect information about alumni who are working in different professions, from education and the arts to engineering and science to policy and social work. From these connections, we host receptions with different groups and invite them to various meetings, and we ask that they get involved in our Alumni Association.

Alumni increasingly are key to our efforts to help students secure internships and jobs, as they are working to connect our students with job opportunities, and are supporting our partnerships with different companies and agencies. Most important, large numbers of alumni are on campus regularly supporting our students – and the welfare of our students is our number one responsibility.

Coming out of the 50th anniversary, we have developed a useful framework that will help us continue to increase the ways alumni connect to campus. They will be asked to engage in ways that make the most sense for their lives, no matter where they live. With the “Get Involved, Stay Involved” program, the Office of Alumni Relations will be finding ways to engage our alumni by encouraging them to attend cultural, networking, and athletic events on campus; share their love for UMBC on social media and by word of mouth; update our offices with information about their professional successes, family, and stories from beyond the loop; volunteer for events at UMBC and in other cities; hire other alumni at their places of work; and support UMBC annually.

As important, we are supporting new and ongoing connections between alumni and faculty and program staff, who often have the deepest connections to our graduates. The more we can work together as a community, the more we will be able to use these strengths to our advantage.

Q: The new Event Center looks fantastic and will be a great home for the future of UMBC athletics. What parts of our history and traditions do you plan on representing in the building?

— Christopher Strong ’86, interdisciplinary studies, and former member of the men’s basketball team

A: The Event Center provides a great opportunity to celebrate some of our traditions and past successes, while also elevating the environment for our Division I athletics programs and giving us a venue for new activities to build tradition. Everyone is excited about building on our athletic department’s reputation. We are known for recruiting athletes who are solid academically and talented athletically and this facility will allow us to build on that reputation because of its attractiveness. Of course our championship banners will be hung in the Center, and we will display trophies and memorabilia in different ways throughout the building. I understand there are also conceptual plans for a “hall of fame” display that will require private donations to be fully realized.

In addition to athletics, we will be bringing Commencement back to campus. This had been a very rich tradition at UMBC until the space became too limited for the size of the class. Now we’ll be able to bring Commencement back, and that will give everyone an added source of pride.

Do you have a question for UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski? Send it to, and it may appear in a future issue of UMBC Magazine.

Pictured: Dr. Hrabowski talks with students on the Administration Building’s new green roof, made possible by a $1 million gift from the France-Merrick Foundation.

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