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Freeman Hrabowski Named 2014 MLK Keynote Speaker
Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will be the keynote speaker for Syracuse University’s 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, “Pursuing the Dream: Above All Odds” on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in the Carrier Dome. The annual celebration is the largest University-sponsored event in the United States to commemorate King.
“Freeman Hrabowski is a dynamic speaker and a renowned educator with an in-depth focus on math and science education,” says Syeisha Byrd, director of Hendricks Chapel’s Office of Engagement Programs and chair of this year’s Martin Luther King Celebration Committee. “As a young man, Dr. Hrabowski was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and this is an amazing opportunity for members of the Syracuse University community to hear firsthand perspective of the events of that time.”
The evening program, which will include the presentation of the 2014 Unsung Hero Awards, music by a community choir and entertainment by student performers, begins at 5:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Tickets for the dinner, which precedes the program at 4:30 p.m., are $25 for the general public and $15 for students without meal plans. Students with meal plans will be charged for one dinner. Student tickets are available at all residence hall main desks and dining centers at meal times. For students without meal plans, $15 tickets are available through Hendricks Chapel. For ticket information, contact Hendricks Chapel at 315-443-5044.
Hrabowski will also take part in invitation-only sessions with SU students and faculty during his time in Syracuse.
Hrabowski has served as president of UMBC since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.” He was named by President Barack Obama in 2012 to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
In 2008, he was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UMBC the nation’s #1 “Up and Coming” university the past five years (2009-13). U.S. News also consistently ranked UMBC among the nation’s leading institutions for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” in 2013. TIME magazine named Hrabowski one of America’s “10 Best College Presidents” in 2009, and one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012. In 2011, he received both the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the Carnegie Corp. of New York’s Academic Leadership Award, recognized by many as the nation’s highest awards among higher education leaders.
Also in 2011, he was named one of seven “Top American Leaders” by the Washington Post and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. In 2012, he received the Heinz Award for his contributions to improving the human condition and was among the inaugural inductees into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Leadership Hall of Fame.
He serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and universities and school systems nationally. He also serves on the boards of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation (chair), T. Rowe Price Group, the Urban Institute, McCormick & Co. and the Baltimore Equitable Society. He served previously on the boards of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Maryland Humanities Council (member and chair).
Examples of other honors include election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society; receiving the prestigious McGraw Prize in Education, the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, the Columbia University Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service, the GE African American Forum ICON Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Educational Research Association’s Distinguished Public Service Award and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) William D. Carey Award; being named a fellow of the AAAS, Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) by the BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference, Educator of the Year by the World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., and Marylander of the Year by the editors of the Baltimore Sun; and being listed among Fast Company magazine’s first Fast 50 Champions of Innovation in business and technology, and receiving the Technology Council of Maryland’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He also holds honorary degrees from more than 20 institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Duke, the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, Haverford College and Harvey Mudd College.
With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering, and advancing underrepresented minorities in these fields. The program is recognized as a national model.
Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, “Beating the Odds” and “Overcoming the Odds” (Oxford University Press), focusing on parenting and high-achieving African American males and females in science. He and UMBC were featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” attracting national attention for the campus’s achievements involving innovation and inclusive excellence.
A child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, “Four Little Girls,” on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Hrabowski graduated at 19 from Hampton Institute with highest honors in mathematics. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he received an M.A. degree (mathematics) and four years later a Ph.D. (higher education administration/statistics) at age 24.