President of the University of Maryland Speaks on Minorities in Education
Freeman Hrabowski, III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, gave an inspiring lecture on preparing minority students in science and technology before a crowd of about 400 at Sacred Heart University on February 12. The presentation, entitled “The Power to Change: Encouraging Minority Achievement in Education,” was sponsored by the University’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education.
Hrabowski spoke of the influence his parents had on his education, as well as the obstacles minorities face in pursuing a post-secondary education. He said being the son of an avid reader and teacher shaped his perspective on education. His stories were based on his experiences from his childhood in Birmingham, Alabama. “To me, smart meant being willing to work really hard,” Hrabowski said. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
His research focuses on the science and math fields and increasing minority participation and performance. He also discussed education from a global perspective, noting that India is in the process of building 800 universities. He spoke about the importance of data and assessment in education to differentiate between what works in our school systems and what does not. He emphasized the importance of creating an academic culture based upon the love of learning and the determination to succeed. “Teachers touch eternity through their students,” he said.
Two of Hrabowski’s publications are Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful American Males and Overcoming the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Young Women. Recently, President Barack Obama named Hrabowski as chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Education for Excellence for African Americans.
Hrabowski’s expertise in education and knowledge of improving achievement among minorities in education left a lasting impression for his audience. “The difference between those whose dreams are fulfilled and those who are not is education,” he said.