An educator TIME magazine once named to its “100 Most Influential People in the World” list will help celebrate the installation of Cal Poly Pomona’s sixth president.
Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will give a special address at the Investiture ceremony Friday, Feb. 5 for University President Soraya M. Coley, the first woman and African American to hold the post.
Hrabowski, who President Barack Obama recently selected to chair a newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, calls Coley inspirational.
“Soraya Coley is so impressive because she believes in people — her students and colleagues — and she’s determined to support them in succeeding,” he says. “Her own journey has been a great American story of overcoming the odds and achieving far more than others might have imagined. She inspires us all.”
Hrabowski’s journey to the helm of UMBC started in 1950 when he was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement, which prompted director Spike Lee to feature Hrabowski in the 1997 documentary “4 Little Girls” about the racially motivated bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963.
He received his bachelor’s degree from the Hampton Institute, and his master’s degree in mathematics and doctorate in higher education administration/statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
TIME magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents in 2009, and in 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked UMBC fourth on the list of the nation’s most innovative universities.
Hrabowski’s research focuses on science and math education. He also has co-authored two books, “Beating the Odds” and “Overcoming the Odds.” His most recent book is “Holding Fast to Dreams: Empowering Youth from the Civil Rights Crusade to STEM Achievement.”
The Investiture will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Kellogg Gymnasium. It is free and open to the public. Parking for the public will be available in Lot B. Members of the campus community (students, staff and faculty) are encouraged to park where they normally would and walk to the gym.
For more information, visit the Investiture site.