Empowering Baltimore

Published: May 30, 2003

A University That Knows How to Win


Diane Bell-McKoy
Diane Bell-McKoy has been named UMBC’s Distinguished Alumna for 2003.

Empowering Baltimore  

Diane L. Bell-McKoy, who graduated from UMBC in 1973 with a B.A. in Sociology/Social Work, has been named UMBC’s Distinguished Alumna for 2003.

After almost 20 years working with drug treatment programs and poverty issues, and as an advocate for children, Diane Bell-McKoy took the reins as president and CEO of the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation in 1994. She has faced the challenge of bringing together people from different backgrounds with varying experiences and beliefs to put together and carry out a collective vision.

Under her leadership, Baltimore’s Empowerment Zone has had unparalleled success and has become a national and international model. Bell-McKoy and her staff, in partnership with others in the business community, have seen the creation of 5,000 new jobs and helped 8,000 unemployed city residents find work. Empower Baltimore has also created new initiatives, such as a Hospital Hopkins and University Hospital program, which has trained hospital workers and upgraded them to work as surgical technicians.

In her previous position as deputy chief of staff to the Honorable Kurt L. Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, Bell-McKoy spearheaded the development of an agency dedicated to the delivery of both human services and community capacity building assistance; designed and implemented a new policy structure to guide the mayor in matters related to social capital (The Mayor’s Human Services Sub-Cabinet); designed the City’s rebuilding policies committee; served as the chair of the Sandtown-Winchester Initiative in partnership with the Jim Rouse Enterprise Foundation; and designed the City’s first Youth Leadership Program.

“Diane is a distinguished alumna who is precisely the kind of citizen that UMBC strives to graduate,” says Cynthia M. Hill, assistant vice provost, who nominated Bell-McKoy for the award. “Her strong liberal education is effectively blended with a strong sense of social responsibility. She is in every sense a leader with an extraordinary ability to forge collaborations among government, business, and community entities to increase social capital and improve the quality of life for those who might otherwise remain

At the annual Alumni Awards Reception and Ceremony on April 24, UMBC also             honored:

Outstanding Alumna of the Year

Adrienne A. Jones

B.A., Psychology ’76

Speaker Pro Tem, Maryland House of Delegates


Community Leadership Award

Emma Byrne

B.A., Sociology ’70

Retired Teacher, Baltimore City Schools


Alumni Volunteer of the Year

Robert Baruch

B.S., Computer Science ’89

President, CEO and Founder, Raba Technologies, Inc.

In addition to celebrating the achievements of UMBC alumni, over 40 student scholarship and award recipients were recognized.



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