In a half-century, UMBC has graduated more than 70,000 people, and the university’s alumni have gone on to rewarding and impactful careers in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and STEM. “That has been the story of UMBC,” said President Freeman A. Hrabowski in an interview on Maryland Public Television, just ahead of UMBC’s 50th anniversary. During the network’s Education Spotlight week, Hrabowski discussed with Jeff Salkin UMBC’s success since it opened its doors in 1966, as well as important national education issues, including diversity and paying for college.
“People marvel at the quality of education here,” Hrabowski told Salkin. “We are one of the top institutions in innovation, and we have redesigned courses,” he said. “We give students chances to work in labs, but also in companies and school systems, and people get great jobs.”
Many students at UMBC today are the children of people who attended institutions in the University System of Maryland and found successful careers, he noted, sharing, “What American families see when they come to college is that people who complete those experiences are able to get better jobs and are able to take care of their families.”
President Hrabowski also offered advice for students on how to make the most of their college experience, particularly visiting the “Career Center and attending career fairs beginning in the first semester of freshman year.” Emphasizing the importance of internship opportunities, he said, “There are wonderful experiences and opportunities in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, we just have to expose the students to them and they will do well. The challenge is to make sure they take advantage of the opportunities.”
The lessons students learn at UMBC prepare them to contribute to society in meaningful and significant ways, Hrabowski continued, describing that it is important for students to go outside of their comfort zones and learn how to work with people different from themselves, to become “people who can serve as a bridge in explaining the problems.”
“What we need in America is the opportunity to talk to people different from ourselves, to remember to listen, to open our ears and our minds and our hearts, and to solve the problems,” Hrabowski said.
UMBC’s 50th anniversary was featured in several news outlets, including:
Why College Rankings Are a Joke (The New York Times)
UMBC’s Puppy Parade (The Baltimore Sun)
UMBC 50 Anniversary Celebration (The Baltimore Sun)
Over 50 years, UMBC has cultivated a research mission from former pastures (The Baltimore Sun)
UMBC celebrates 50th anniversary (The Baltimore Sun)
A Catonsville university turns golden (The Baltimore Sun)
At age 50, UMBC just getting started (The Daily Record)
Image: Dr. Hrabowski, September 2016. Photo by Jim Burger.