Celebrating 50 Years of Grit & Greatness

umbc-50-gg-headerTO: The UMBC Community
FROM: President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

The UMBC community’s journey started when the University welcomed its first students on September 19, 1966. We are delighted now to provide a preview of exciting plans to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Over the past year, Office of Institutional Advancement colleagues have laid the groundwork for this important milestone, working closely with the President’s Council, Senate heads, and a 50-member Anniversary Engagement Team representing all colleges and divisions.

Our celebration will honor many facets of the UMBC experience and span the period between October 2015 and May 2017. You will see several early elements of the celebration during Homecoming this week.

  • Introduction of the anniversary brand – UMBC 50 Grit & Greatness. This brand statement, developed through a year of consultation with alumni and others, is inspired by our mascot True Grit as well as the innovation and perseverance of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The statement reflects how far we have come as a campus and as individuals, as well as our understanding that excellence is a continuous pursuit, not a destination.
  • Launch of 50th anniversary outreach to alumni leaders who will help us reconnect fellow graduates with the campus. Our message to them: We Need Hundreds of You to Reach Thousands of Us. We are delighted that hundreds of graduates will be on campus Friday evening, October 9, for an event celebrating the important role alumni play in the University’s success. We look forward to greeting them, alongside members of the President’s Council, Senate leaders, academic department chairs, 50th Anniversary Engagement Team members, and Student Alumni Association members.
  • The Office of Institutional Advancement also seeks partners to plan the celebration and is designating funds to support innovations in alumni outreach. A Request for Proposals seeks campus and alumni suggestions for developing and executing 50th anniversary programming and events this academic year and next, with special emphasis on a celebration weekend planned for September 17-19, 2016.

UMBC’s 50th anniversary is an important time to celebrate our success. It also represents a vital strategic opportunity. As the campus completes a new strategic plan and prepares for a comprehensive fundraising campaign, anniversary events and communications will build pride in the campus and its extraordinary impact in just 50 years. The celebration also provides a significant opportunity to renew and deepen relationships with our more than 65,000 alumni. During the past 10 years, 20,000 alumni have been event participants, volunteers, or donors. Alumni engagement is a central focus of 50th anniversary planning, with the aim of increasing the number of active alumni by 10,000, or 50 percent. Change at this scale depends on a campus-wide effort.

We deeply appreciate the ideas, energy, and resources so many of you are bringing to this once-in-a-generation opportunity. Our alumni are the best advocates for our endeavors and aspirations, and we are confident that the campus celebration of the 50th will benefit UMBC for decades to come.

If you have ideas to share about the 50th celebration, please contact Lisa Akchin, associate vice president for engagement, at akchin@umbc.edu. You can also follow 50th anniversary plans online at 50.umbc.edu.

We look forward to celebrating this exceptional campus community with you.

Retriever Fever: UMBC Homecoming, October 7-10

TO: The UMBC Community
FROM: President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

We take enormous pride in all that UMBC has accomplished since its founding in 1966.

The campus continues to build traditions that celebrate our achievements, from singing the Alma Mater at Convocation and placing a mortarboard on the head of True Grit on graduation day to recognizing the accomplishments of faculty and staff at our annual awards ceremony. Homecoming is a special opportunity for the entire UMBC community—faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends—to come together.

As we prepare for the 50th Anniversary next year, Homecoming presents a wonderful opportunity to engage and connect with alumni and members of the campus community and build excitement for our anniversary. There are many events scheduled for this year’s Homecoming celebration, and we encourage you to participate in the festivities, from athletic, social, arts, and award events to alumni- and family- centered events.

The following activities may be of special interest to faculty and staff:

Wednesday, October 7

  • Faculty & Staff Social, 4:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Bonfire, dusk

Thursday, October 8

  • Alumni Awards Ceremony, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, October 9

  • Big Prize Poetry Slam, 6:00 p.m.
  • 50th Anniversary Hundreds Launch Party, 6:30 p.m.
  • Retriever Rally, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 10

  • 5K Dawg Chase, 8:00 a.m.
  • Homecoming Festival, 12:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
  • Men’s Soccer vs. Albany, 2:30 p.m.
  • Crab Feast, 5:00 p.m.
  • Comedy Show, 8:00 p.m.

Visit the Homecoming website to see the full calendar of activities and to register for some of our most popular events. We hope to see you at this year’s Homecoming.

Please Nominate Outstanding Staff for the Annual Staff Awards

President Hrabowski and Provost Rous have announced the annual solicitation of nominations for the exempt and non-exempt staff awards.

We all know that the work of exceptional staff is a very important part of what placed UMBC 4th in the “Most Innovative” category in a new ranking by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges. Whether working in the forefront or behind the scenes, staff hold key positions across the campus supporting UMBC’s mission and success.

Now, we need your help to identify and nominate the very best of UMBC’s outstanding exempt and non-exempt staff members for these awards. We ask the campus community to set aside a few minutes this year to think about staff whose extraordinary contributions deserve to be recognized, and take the time to nominate these deserving staff. We believe it is more important than ever to recognize outstanding staff so that the campus community can celebrate their contributions to UMBC’s success.

Please take a moment to review the criteria and eligibility for each award and nominate individuals you think exemplify our campus and its accomplishments.

The deadline to submit nominations is October 27, 2015. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a Staff Awards Committee member or Beth Wells, 410-455-8907.

Thank you so much for your help!

The Staff Awards Committee

Please Consider Giving to the Maryland Charity Campaign

We are delighted to announce the launch of the annual Maryland Charity Campaign. This year, we again ask that you give every consideration to making a charitable contribution to one or more of the nearly 700 charities participating in this year’s campaign.

UMBC’s Maryland Charity Campaign will officially launch on October 15, and will be co-chaired by Greg Simmons, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and Dr. Scott Casper, Dean, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. As in previous years, the co-chairs will be working with a Campaign Cabinet, which represents all of the Colleges and divisions on campus, and dedicated Campaign Coordinators who will support the day-to-day work of the campaign. You will be receiving additional information and resources about the campaign from your coordinator in the days ahead, and we would like to extend to them our appreciation for all that they do to make this work a success.

This year, the Maryland Charity Campaign has chosen the theme Make the Choice to Make a Difference. Every year, hundreds of UMBC colleagues make a difference with their charitable giving through this campaign. There are few illustrations of our community’s generosity and commitment more powerful than our collective participation in the Maryland Charity Campaign.

Thank you for giving this campaign your every consideration.

President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

Responding to the tragedy in Oregon

Yesterday’s tragedy in Oregon saddens us and reminds us of challenges we face as a nation. Our thoughts are with Umpqua Community College, and particularly with the victims and their families.

As we struggle to understand these horrific events, we also evaluate our own efforts to keep our campus safe. Campus health and safety is a leading University priority and major focus of our time and resources.

Maximizing campus safety requires individual commitment. Members of the UMBC community share a sense of responsibility to support and look out for one another. This includes demonstrating each day our mutual respect and care for each other, and also reaching out to help those who are struggling with difficulties in their lives.

If you are in a situation where you find another community member’s behavior concerning, particularly if you are worried they may harm themselves or others, please call UMBC Police at 410-455-5555. The UMBC Counseling Center is always available to provide support at 410-455-2472. We also encourage students, faculty, and staff to learn more about UMBC’s Behavioral Risk Assessment and Consultation Team.

UMBC is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment for all. We must continue to work every day to embody our community’s values and to support one another.

President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

Please Complete the 2015 Administration & Finance Survey

The Administration and Finance Division supports students, faculty, and staff through services that include buildings and grounds, finance, human resources, campus safety and many general business services. We encourage you to complete our 2015 survey, which should take about 5 minutes. This anonymous survey will be available until October 23.

Click Here to Access Survey

Your opinion matters! Based on survey responses in 2011 and 2013 from students, faculty, and staff we made many changes including: adding student and staff parking spaces; adding food venues and instituting $6 Fridays at True Grits; and conducting over 70 supervisor trainings. Your feedback in this year’s survey will be instrumental in helping shape the services we provide.

Lynne Schaefer, Vice President, Administration & Finance

Introducing Wellness Wednesdays: Monthly 1 Hour Wellness Sessions for Faculty and Staff

November 4, 2015: Wellness Wednesdays: Nutrition Essentials

Interested in finding simple yet impactful ways to weave wellness into your professional and personal life? If so, please join faculty and staff colleagues for Wellness Wednesdays the first Wednesday of each month (September to June) from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the RAC Lobby. Each session offers information, resources, and/or immersion into different wellness modalities that are supported at UMBC. Join UMBC Dietician, Sarena Glen to learn how diet effects cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The session will also look at practical ways to increase fruits and vegetables in the diet and make better diet choices.

The workshop will be Wednesday, November 4, 2015 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. Meet in RAC Lobby. Space is limited and registration is required. Register by Friday, October 30, 2015 at