One of nation’s top 10 college presidents to speak at URI Honors Colloquium on Nov. 20

KINGSTON, R.I – Nov. 12, 2013 – In 1963, at age 12, Freeman A. Hrabowski participated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s Children’s Crusade march during the civil rights movement. Hrabowski marched for his right to a good education.

The lesson that a young Hrabowski learned that day was that, “children can be empowered to take ownership of their education.”

Later that year the University of Maryland, Baltimore County was founded. It was one of the first universities that worked hard to build a community that welcomes students of all races. Hrabowski has served as the president of the university for 21 years.

He will speak to University of Rhode Island students, faculty, and the public, Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. about “Elevating all Students” as part of the annual Honors Colloquium, titled, Great Public Schools: Everyone’s Right? Everyone’s Responsibility?

Hrabowski believes that America needs to change the culture of its technical institutions. At the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, educators have taken what they learned from working with minority students and used those strategies to help students of all types. The university has redesigned courses and looked at ways of connecting students to build a strong community. If faculty members are willing to get involved with students, and set high expectations for them, students will succeed.

The address will be held at Edwards Hall Auditorium, 64 Upper College Road, Kingston Campus. This event will be on a Wednesday evening, not Tuesday as the other events in this series are normally held.

Note to media, for most lectures, speakers will be available from 3:30 to 5 p.m. for interviews the day of their talk. To make arrangements, please contact Dave Lavallee, URI Marketing and Communications, 401-874-5862.

Hrabowski was born in 1950 in Birmingham, Ala. He graduated at age 19 from the Hampton Institute with high honors in mathematics, and received his master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Four years later he earned his doctorate in higher education administration and statistics.

He has been president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since 1992. He works to create an environment that helps under-represented students, specifically African-American, Latino and low-income learners, get degrees in math and science. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with an emphasis on minority participation and performance.

In 2008, U.S. News & World Report named him one of America’s Best Leaders, and also ranked the University of Maryland, Baltimore County the nation’s #1 “Up and Coming” university for the past five years. TIME magazine named Hrabowski one of America’s 10 best college presidents in 2009, and one of the most influential people in the world. Recently, Hrabowski was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

His other honors include 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, and the GE African American Forum ICON Lifetime Achievement Award. Hrabowski also holds honorary degrees from more than 20 institutions.

In addition, Hrabowski serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and various universities and schools nationally. Hrabowski is the author of numerous articles and is co-author of two books, Beating the Odds, and Overcoming the Odds. Both books focus on parenting and high achieving African American male and female students in science.

Those unable to attend the lecture can watch it live online URI Live!

The program is co-facilitated by David Byrd and Diane Kern from the School of Education and is generously supported by:

Major Sponsor: URI Honors Program

Sponsors: URI Office of the President; URI Office of the Provost; The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment; The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment, as well as the following URI colleges, departments and offices, College of Human Science and Services, Talent Development, Multicultural Center, University College, WRIU’s The Beauty Salon, College of Arts and Sciences, The Harrington School of Communications and Media, John Hazen White, Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, Department of Gender and Women Studies, College of Pharmacy, College of Engineering, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, College of Business Administration, College of Nursing, Division of Student Affairs, Department of Marketing and Communications, Department of Publications and Creative Services, and Instructional Technology and Media Services. Rhode Island Public Radio is also a sponsor.

For more information on colloquium events contact Deborah Gardiner at 401-874-2381 or

For information about ways to support the Honors Colloquium, contact URI Professor Lynne Derbyshire, Honors Program director, at 401.874. 4732. If you have a disability and need an accommodation, please call 401.874.2303 at least three business days in advance. For TTY assistance, please call the R.I. Relay Service at 800.745.5555.

This press release was written by Caitlin Musselman, a URI Marketing and Communications intern and a public relations and political science major.