Freeman Hrabowski to continue higher ed leadership as inaugural ACE Centennial Fellow after retirement as UMBC president


Published: Jun 24, 2022
man in dark graduation robe stands behind a podium with positive expression
Dr. Freeman Hrabowski at UMBC's 2018 Convocation. (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)

The American Council on Education (ACE) announced today that UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III will serve as the inaugural ACE Centennial Fellow. Hrabowski will begin this role following his retirement as president of UMBC this summer. Through more than three decades of transformational leadership at UMBC, he has inspired thousands of students and grown UMBC into a national model for inclusive excellence and a leader in research.

“This is an amazing opportunity to continue focusing on student success and culture change,” says President Hrabowski, who will begin his ACE Centennial Fellowship on August 1. “I am looking forward to working closely with Ted Mitchell, other ACE colleagues, and educators from across the country as part of this effort to create and sustain nurturing academic environments on our campuses.”

Advocating for all students 

To guide his work as ACE’s first Centennial Fellow, President Hrabowski will draw from his results-driven commitment to inclusive excellence and his collaborative approach to leadership. He will focus on increasing opportunities for all students—particularly first-generation students, adult learners, and students from underrepresented groups—to access higher education and receive the support they need to earn their degrees.

man in black suit with golden yellow tie smiles for a selfie with two students, both wearing UMBC shirts and carrying backpacks and balloons.
Dr. Hrabowski on campus with students. (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

This work directly builds on President Hrabowski’s leadership at UMBC, selected last year to join the University Innovation Alliance, a consortium of public research universities working to boost student success by sharing and scaling approaches that work. As ACE’s Centennial Fellow, he will carry forward this commitment to higher education access and success at a national level. 

Meanwhile, back at UMBC, the Freeman A. Hrabowski, III Endowment for Student Excellence will provide increased college access and affordability for incoming first-year students with financial need and a commitment to community service.

National leadership

Mitchell, president of ACE, says that Dr. Hrabowski will be instrumental in shaping the ACE Centennial Fellow position, as the first leader to hold this role. 

Man wearing a black suit and black and gold striped tie stands, speaking, at a clear podium
Ted Mitchell at an event celebrating Dr. Hrabowski. (Marlayna Demond ’11/UMBC)

“There is no better-equipped person in American higher education than Freeman Hrabowski to find new and better ways for ACE and all of our institutions to best serve our students and the nation,” explains Mitchell. “We have invited him to promote the interests and needs of the entire higher education community and our students, especially those learners who are often forgotten or neglected.”

In addition to serving as ACE Centennial Fellow, Hrabowski will continue supporting the next generation of higher education leaders through teaching at the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents and mentoring current and future university presidents nationwide.

A membership organization for the leaders in higher education, ACE shapes public policy and promotes innovation. ACE represents more than 1,700 public and private two-year and four-year institutions across the United States.

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