Last month I had the distinct honor of attending an amazing event to celebrate the retirement of Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III who was the president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) for 30 years! I am so honored to have worked with him for at least 20 of those 30 years and very proud to call him a dear friend, mentor and my “brother.” His impact on my life both professionally and personally has been immeasurable. He is an extraordinary man whose insight, vision, dedication, and drive took UMBC to new levels not dreamed of back when the University was established in the late ’60’s.
He is the first to say that “Success is never final” and that we must strive for excellence every day. He is also the first to say that it took “us” to create this wonderful University and not just him. Those were not only words to him but his true belief because he took time to empower, embolden, and inspire everyone he met or worked with every day. That is what a true leader does – uplift and encourage everyone around him to reach their true potential with knowledge, skill, humility, and kindness. This celebration not only congratulated Dr. Hrabowski but each one of us who played a part in UMBC’s success. His legacy will also be there for all to see when the Administration Building on campus is soon renamed the “Freeman A. and Jacqueline C. Hrabowski Administration Building.”
We are all UMBC and there is greatness in each of us for having attended UMBC and having Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski in our lives.