Fall 2010

“Exceptional” Alumnus: Gene Trainor ’86

In just over 40 years, UMBC has progressed from a fledgling university to a nationally renowned institution of higher education. And when it comes to areas such as undergraduate teaching or encouraging diversity in scientific and technological disciplines, UMBC is now regularly mentioned in the same breath with Harvard University, MIT and Stanford University. But that growth didn’t happen without a lot of help. And an important element in helping UMBC rise in national prestige has been the university’s successful Exceptional by Example campaign. This year, the board of UMBC’s Alumni Association has recognized the key role played by its… Continue Reading “Exceptional” Alumnus: Gene Trainor ’86

See Hear: Vikki Valentine ’96

“People know what NPR sounds like,” says Vikki Valentine ’96, English. “But they don’t really know what it looks like. And on the Web, it’s what you look like that’s important.” That’s the daily challenge for Valentine, who is a senior editor in NPR’s science division – and recipient of the 2010 UMBC Alumna of the Year Award in the Humanities. Public radio is changing at light speed; so much, in fact, that National Public Radio isn’t even National Public Radio anymore. In July, the name became simply NPR. “The core product of NPR will always be audio storytelling,” says… Continue Reading See Hear: Vikki Valentine ’96

Game Face: Rick Moreland ’83

After a stellar basketball career at UMBC, Rick Moreland ’83, interdisciplinary studies was drafted in the ninth round of the National Basketball Association’s annual draft by the Washington Bullets. And though he never made a basket or grabbed a rebound for the Bullets (renamed the “Wizards” in 1995), Moreland eventually made the team in a different way – and he’s lasted 25 years with them. “I have had a longer career than most of the NBA players,” says Moreland, who is the team’s senior vice president for corporate marketing and executive seating. Moreland’s job with the team is to make… Continue Reading Game Face: Rick Moreland ’83

The Healing Hands of the Humanities: Blair P. Grubb ’76

Blair. P. Grubb ’76, biological sciences, is a distinguished professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Toledo’s College of Medicine. He was also a recipient of UMBC’s Alumni of the Year Award in 1994. But Dr. Grubb – who is one of the world’s foremost authorities regarding syncope (or “fainting”) and disorders of the autonomic nervous system – is also a widely published essayist. UMBC Magazine asked him to share his thoughts on the confluence of medicine and literature. In the midst of the current debates on the future of American health care, a much less discussed crisis… Continue Reading The Healing Hands of the Humanities: Blair P. Grubb ’76

Courting Controversy: Robin L. West ’76

Are rulings by judges the best way to settle hot-button social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion? Maybe not, argues Georgetown University law professor and UMBC alumna Robin L. West. By Richard Byrne ’86 Illustrations by Chris Buzelli Justice is a concept that can enflame our passions and animate our actions. The urge to seek redress for wrongs is woven into the fibers of our government, our economy and our culture. Courts of law are the main venue in which citizens seek justice. So it puzzles UMBC alumna Robin L. West ’76, philosophy – one of America’s preeminent legal… Continue Reading Courting Controversy: Robin L. West ’76

Up on the Roof – Fall 2010

UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III takes your questions. Q. This past spring, the Baltimore Sun caused a bit of clamor on campus when an editorial celebrating the success of UMBC’s championship chess team suggested that UMBC change its name. Can you discuss your reaction to the idea and the discussion that it set off, and explain why a name change isn’t likely at the present moment? — Richard Byrne ’86, English Editor, UMBC Magazine A. My first reaction is that the Baltimore Sun respects the quality of the educational experience at UMBC, They’re saying that we are a first-rate… Continue Reading Up on the Roof – Fall 2010

To You – Fall 2010

How did you get through UMBC? Many UMBC alumni do it the hard way. Working day jobs (or the night shift) as they earn their degrees. They didn’t just thirst for knowledge; they broke a sweat to make sure that they got it. Count two alumnae featured in this issue – Robin West ’76, philosophy and Tootsie Duvall ’75, theatre – among that group. West is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and one of the nation’s most prolific and provocative legal theorists. And Duvall’s acting career has spanned four decades and includes network sitcoms and the HBO series,… Continue Reading To You – Fall 2010

Tapping Into the Wire

American Studies professor Kimberly Moffitt felt like a stranger when she moved to Baltimore. But her research on public attitudes about the gritty HBO crime drama brought the city closer to home. By Richard Byrne ’86 Photos by Howard Korn When assistant professor of American Studies Kimberly Moffitt arrived in Maryland and moved into the Liberty Heights neighborhood in the northwest section of Baltimore four years ago, she had an almost immediate aversion to the place. For Moffitt, Charm City wasn’t so charming. “I’ve lived in a number of major cities,” she says. “New York, Boston, Chicago and D.C. And… Continue Reading Tapping Into the Wire

Over Coffee – Fall 2010

It’s no surprise that an Honors University in Maryland has a chapter of America’s longest-lived and most prestigious academic honor society. But hosting a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), founded in 1776 at The College of William and Mary, requires an intensive application and review process by the organization. Success is a sign of great distinction and intellectual rigor – especially at a university as young as UMBC. Jay Freyman, associate professor of ancient studies and first president of UMBC’s chapter, Anna Shields, current president and director of UMBC’s Honors College and outgoing Phi Beta Kappa chapter president and… Continue Reading Over Coffee – Fall 2010

How to be a Pottery Detective

With Esther Read, Field Archaeologist So you’re digging a garden in your backyard, and all of a sudden the point of your trowel hits something hard. You poke around a little more, brush the soil away – probably just a rock, right? But on further inspection, the “thing” you have discovered is rather glossy, with faint drawings and a whiff of history about it. When you wash it off in the sink… Voila! You have a ceramics mystery in your hands. Since Antiques Road Show only comes around town once in a blue moon, you might be scratching your head… Continue Reading How to be a Pottery Detective

Discovery – Fall 2010

PLAYING WITH TYRE As the lights dim to signal the commencement of the UMBC Theatre Department’s production of William Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre, the audience doesn’t quite know what to expect. The makeshift theater set up in the university’s Imaging Research Center (IRC) already defies expectations: A table for a stage. Actors dressed in all black. At last, one of the actors picks up a toy man and gives it the deep booming voice of King Antiochus. A version of one of Shakespeare’s more difficult plays – blending technology and stagecraft – takes off. The creative minds in UMBC’s… Continue Reading Discovery – Fall 2010

At Play – Fall 2010

MAKING THE GRADE Points on the scoreboard aren’t the only ones that UMBC’s women’s basketball team is scoring. Team members are also racking up the grade points. The team was recognized by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) for posting the third-highest grade-point average in the country among NCAA Division I teams. Only Utah Valley (3.630) and South Dakota State (3.622) earned higher GPAs than UMBC’s women’s hoops team (3.578) in Division I. And the Retrievers ranked 13th in the country among schools from all divisions. The high marks were also the best-ever ranking for an America East conference school.… Continue Reading At Play – Fall 2010

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