To You – Fall 2012

Published: Oct 6, 2012

(True grit statue)

Traditions don’t start easily. Someone has to plant the seeds. Attract attention to them. Nurture them. Allow them both to grow and take root.

The image on the cover of the Fall 2012 issue of UMBC Magazine is one tradition that has taken root at the university. UMBC’s presidential insignia – worn by the university’s president at every commencement – was a gift from the university’s Alumni Association that recognized the school’s milestone 30th anniversary in 1996.

The insignia was purposely created to have a contemporary look that reflected the innovation that characterized the institution. The insignia’s design includes not only the university seal, but also incorporates three symbols that represent the key pillars upon which UMBC stands as a proud public university in Maryland: teaching, research and service. There are also visual references to the iconic Albin O. Kuhn Library in its design – rooting the insignia firmly in campus space.

At the time of its completion in 1998, UMBC’s director of alumni relations Joan Williams observed that she hoped the insignia was “just the beginning of many more traditions to come.” But little did she know that the president who first wore the insignia 14 years ago would still be the university’s leader in 2012.

Our cover story in this issue examines the 20 years of transformation at UMBC that have occurred under the leadership of Freeman A. Hrabowski, III. (See “From Aspiration to Achievement”).

Stability also helps nurture traditions. UMBC’s two decades with Hrabowski at the helm have given the university the ability to innovate in an environment of continuity – and thus advance the commitment to teaching, research and service that are part of the design of the university and its insignia.

As a young university with a growing sense of its legacy and its promise, the students, faculty, and staff of UMBC make history every day. And alumni can do it, too. Everything that happens at UMBC now lays the foundation for the university’s future.

For instance, every year that there is a bonfire at UMBC Homecoming brings that conflagration another step away from being an “annual event” and one step closer to being a “tradition.” And every year that The Retriever Weekly publishes during the first week of school – as it has since 1966 – makes the university’s student newspaper more of an institution.

Both the bonfire and The Retriever Weekly will figure prominently in this year’s UMBC Homecoming 2012. The bonfire will be set at dusk on Wednesday, October 10. And a reunion of staff members of The Retriever Weekly will happen on Saturday, October 13, at 2:30 p.m.

We hope to see you at Homecoming 2012. You will see how UMBC nurtures the traditions it has as it creates new ones – and you can help us make history in continuing them.

— Richard Byrne ’86


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