Robert Meyerhoff was one of 11 preeminent leaders inducted into the inaugural class of The Baltimore Sun’s Business and Civic Hall of Fame at a special event held in downtown Baltimore on June 9.
A special feature in The Baltimore Sun describes how Mr. Meyerhoff and UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski first connected in 1988 and began to envision an innovative program to educate a new generation of leading scientists, with a priority on diversity.
Today, the Meyerhoff Scholars Program is regarded as a national model, described by Science as “the gold standard for providing a path into academic research for groups…now underrepresented in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.” UMBC has become the nation’s #1 producer of African American undergraduates who go on to complete M.D./Ph.D. programs. Additionally, the Meyerhoff Scholars Program model is being adapted at UNC-Chapel Hill and Penn State through a $7.75 million HHMI grant.
“What is so significant” about Mr. Meyerhoff from the very start of the program, Hrabowski told The Baltimore Sun, “was that he gave not only money but also so much of himself. He has shown the kind of interest one shows when one cares deeply about people.” Meyerhoff took a personal interest in every student in the inaugural class, Hrabowski said.
That legacy continues in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program today. Students receive intensive mentorship from faculty, staff, and peers throughout their time at UMBC, including assistance with graduate school and career planning and access to challenging research experiences. At the recent Meyerhoff graduation dinner, students spoke to the transformative impact the program has had on their lives.
The Sun’s Hall of Fame is designated to honor individuals “who have consistently worked to improve Maryland through their business efforts, civic leadership and philanthropy” and “who have dedicated their lives to making the region thrive.” Through his leadership and generosity, Mr. Meyerhoff has had a profound impact on the lives over a thousand UMBC students—students who, as leading scientists and engaged alumni, are now supporting the next generation of scholars.
Images: (1) Robert Meyerhoff at 2014 Meyerhoff Scholars Program dinner. (2) Meyerhoff Scholars (top row) with Rheda Becker, Robert Meyerhoff, and Freeman Hrabowski (bottom row, l-r) at inaugural Baltimore Sun Hall of Fame dinner.