Doctor of Science

Freeman Hrabowski

May 28, 2023

Listen to an audio recording of Hrabowski’s talk, below.

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president emeritus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), is an educator, advocate and mathematician. During three decades as president of UMBC, a role he assumed in 1992, he oversaw its transformation into an institution noted for research and innovation and a top institution for STEM achievement, particularly among Black students.

At UMBC, Hrabowski co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, designed to promote minority achievement in STEM fields, and forged a new approach to STEM education that emphasized actively collaborative learning, professional development, real-time assessments and group work. Today, UMBC is recognized for graduating more Black students who go on to earn Ph.D.s in the natural sciences and engineering than any other U.S. college or university.

Hrabowski’s influential research and publications focus on science and math education, with a special emphasis on minority participation and performance in STEM fields. His 2013 TED talk “Four Pillars of College Success in Science” has been viewed millions of times. He is the co-author of three books on academic achievement, as well as The Empowered University: Shared Leadership, Culture Change, and Academic Success (2019). In 2012, Hrabowski was appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

President Elliott hugs Freeman Hrabowski after presenting him his honorary degree
President Elliott presented an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Freeman A. Hrabowski III during Commencement. (Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh)

Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world and one of America’s 10 best college presidents by Time, Hrabowski is the recipient of numerous honors and recognitions, including, most recently, the American Council on Education’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the Clark Kerr Award from the University of California, Berkeley; and the UCSF Medal from the University of California, San Francisco. In 2022, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the American Council on Education named him the inaugural ACE Centennial Fellow, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Boston launched the Freeman Hrabowski Scholars Program to help build a scientific workforce that more fully reflects our increasingly diverse country. In April 2023, the National Academy of Sciences awarded him the Public Welfare Medal and inducted him as a member of the academy for his extraordinary use of science for the public good.


Audio file

Listen to Freeman Hrabowski’s talk, “How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going: What Is Your Story?”