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Sun, 08.13.1950

Freeman Hrabowski, Biochemist born

Freeman Hrabowski

*Freeman Hrabowski was born on this date in 1950. He is a Black administrator and educator in biochemistry.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, his mother was an English teacher; his father had been a math teacher and then went to work at a steel mill.  He is the great-great-grandson of Eaton Hrabowski, a Polish American slave master. When he was 12, in 1963, Hrabowski saw his friends readying for the Children's Crusade March for civil rights.  He convinced his parents to let him join in as a youth advocate, but soon into the march, he was swept up in a mass arrest and jailed for five days.  That outcome gave Hrabowski a life mission, and he has since been a staunch and tireless campaigner for equality, education, and excellence.  Hrabowski graduated at 19 from Hampton Institute with honors in mathematics, and he received his M.A. (mathematics) and his Ph.D. (higher education administration/ statistics) from the University of Illinois at age 24.

He has been the President of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) for over twenty years.  Dr. Hrabowski is a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences (where he is a member of the Academy's Council of Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable), the U.S. Department of Education, and universities and school systems nationally.

He is a member of numerous boards, including the American Council on Education, the Baltimore Community Foundation, the Baltimore Equitable Society, Center Stage, the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America, Constellation Energy Group, the Education Commission of the States, the Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies, McCormick & Company, Inc., the Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Company, the Merrick & France Foundations, the Maryland High-Technology Council, and the University of Maryland Medical System.

He also participated in the Greater Baltimore Committee's Leadership Program and Leadership Maryland. Dr. Hrabowski has served on the Maryland Humanities Council as both a member (1987-92) and Chair (1991-92), the Governor's Commission on State Taxes & Tax Structure (Linowes Commission), the Governor's Maryland Economic Growth Task Force, and as Co-Chair of the Governor's Transition Policy Group on Education.

Examples of recent awards and honors include his induction into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Stuart M. Macht Award (Baltimore County), the BETA Award (Baltimore's Extraordinary Technology Advocate), The Baltimore Sun's "Marylander of the Year," The Henry A. Rosenberg, Sr. Distinguished Citizen Award (Boy Scouts of America, Baltimore Council), The Andrew White Medal (Loyola College of Maryland), The Hatikvah Award (The Jewish National Fund), The Educator Achievement Award (NSF), The Outstanding Science Educator (Eli Lilly & Company), The Golden Torch Academic Visionary Award (National Society of Black Engineers), and The U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (awarded to Dr. Hrabowski's university in recognition of the nationally-acclaimed, multi-million dollar Meyerhoff Scholars Program for gifted African American undergraduates in science and engineering).

Dr. Hrabowski is co-authoring the books, Overcoming the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Young Women, published by Oxford University Press in 2001, and Beating the Odds, Raising Academically Successful African American Males, published by Oxford University Press in 1998.

Hrabowski is a respected voice in the discussion on innovation in science and engineering, which strives to ensure America's readiness for global competitiveness. Under his leadership, UMBC has become a powerhouse in higher education and has gained a solid reputation as one of the nation’s premier universities.   His work continues with the launch of The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation in honor of his anniversary and many contributions to the university. UMBC has established the fund to permanently endow the initiatives launched with the support of the Carnegie grant the president received in 2011.

The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation will enable the President’s Office to invest in faculty, staff, and student initiatives such as course design and redesign; development of unique classroom learning environments that support active learning, team-based learning, and entrepreneurial skill development; lab-and-project-based capstone courses; faculty fellowships; and peer-learning initiatives. This fund is created to sustain and drive UMBC’s culture of innovation.

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