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UMBC president wins $500,000 award for academic leadership

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has received an academic leadership award from the Carnegie Corp. of New York that carries with it a $500,000 grant.

The Carnegie award is one of the largest cash prizes given in recognition of higher education leadership. Hrabowski won the 2011 prize along with Eduardo J. Padron, president of Miami Dade College.

"Presidents Hrabowski and Padron have been powerful voices advocating for a robust undergraduate education that strives for excellence and creates an environment for students — especially low-income, minority and immigrant students — in which success is the norm," said Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corp., in a statement.

The award is the latest in a long line of accolades Hrabowski has received in recognition of UMBC's robust production of minority graduates in science, technology, engineering and math. Carnegie made particular note of UMBC's 23-year-old Meyerhoff Scholars program, designed to increase diversity in the upper levels of those fields.

Hrabowski said he will use the $500,000 to start the Freeman A. Hrabowski Fund for Academic Innovation, which will support creative endeavors in teaching and entrepreneurship on campus. Possible applications could include redesigned courses, reimagined classroom spaces and faculty fellowships. The grant money can be used at the winner's discretion to fund academic projects.

Hrabowski envisions the fund growing and providing annual income to the university to support such efforts. The university has already been ranked among the top 10 in the country for its commitment to teaching undergraduates, according to U.S. News & World Report.

William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the state university system, won the prize in 2009.

childs.walker@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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