Born during of the civil rights movement, the University of Maryland Baltimore County celebrated its 50th birthday this weekend, and its Founders Day this afternoon. I’ve worked at several universities in various capacities: Northwestern, the University of Wisconsin, the University of College Park, and UMBC. Most of these schools have long traditions, a century or more of history. Northwestern was founded in 1851, UW-Madison in 1848, College Park in 1856 (as Maryland Agricultural College), and my Alma mater, Howard University was founded in 1867. The University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) is different. It was founded in 1966 and has a young but significant history. UMBC has become known for developing a culture of inclusive excellence.
My parents were students at Howard when UMBC was founded, and my siblings and I have heard lots of stories about the 60’s … the marches, the speeches, segregation, as well as the victories. Hearing about UMBC’s history, it has been interesting to see how it has grown over the years. I like having flexibility needed to do my job, and it’s both interesting and exciting to be at a young, agile university where the official vision is as follows:
Our UMBC community redefines excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement. We will advance knowledge, economic prosperity, and social justice by welcoming and inspiring inquisitive minds from all backgrounds.
We have a chance to do many things here at UMBC as we look toward the future. Certainly we will be innovative and uphold a high standard of excellence, but we also have a chance to be compassionate, listen to opinions even when we disagree, all while sharing a common respect for the human spirit. It is an honor to work with all of the faculty, staff, and students who help to make the campus great. Happy birthday UMBC!