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TIAA-CREF Honors Freeman Hrabowski with 2011 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence

March 07, 2011


TIAA-CREF has announced that Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has been awarded the 2011 TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence. Dr. Hrabowski was selected by an independent panel of judges based largely on his work to increase the representation of minority students in science and engineering and create an institutional model of inclusive excellence.

Established in 1993, the TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award is named in honor of Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, nationally renowned educator and world humanitarian. Father Hesburgh also served on the TIAA and CREF Boards of Overseers for 28 years.

"I am honored to accept this award on behalf of my UMBC colleagues and students, and to have our work associated with the example of extraordinary leadership provided by Father Hesburgh. It takes all of us in the academy to build our institutions and prepare the next generation of leaders. Higher education is more important than ever before for both our nation and humankind. We know that education transforms lives," said Dr. Hrabowski.

Stephanie Bell-Rose, head of the TIAA-CREF Institute, will present the honor this afternoon at ACE's Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

“Dr. Hrabowski’s leadership at UMBC and commitment to underrepresented groups in science and engineering has had a powerful impact on both the Maryland system and on higher education as a whole,” said Bell-Rose. “The Hesburgh award honors those higher education leaders who demonstrate innovative thinking, a positive impact on both higher education and society and a willingness to collaborate both within and outside the university, all of which are embodied by Dr. Hrabowski’s work.”

Dr. Hrabowski has served as president of UMBC since 1992. He has worked with campus colleagues to create a model public research university focused on building research in science, engineering, and public policy, while emphasizing undergraduate liberal arts education and creating an environment in which students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds thrive and succeed academically.

In 2008, he was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which in 2009 and 2010 ranked UMBC the No. 1 “Up and Coming” university in the nation. In 2009, Time magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents. UMBC ranks 2nd nationally in research funding received from NASA, ranks among the top 10 universities nationally in public policy research productivity, and is among the nation’s leading public universities in prestigious scholarly awards per capita to faculty in arts and humanities.

With Baltimore philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, Dr. Hrabowski co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at UMBC in 1988 for minority students committed to pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering. Today, UMBC is among the nation’s leading institutions in producing African American graduates who go on to complete Ph.Ds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and M.D./Ph.Ds.

The Hesburgh Award, which includes a $20,000 prize, recognizes a current college or university president/chancellor who:

Is a visionary, demonstrating innovative thinking about strategic challenges and opportunities, sustaining the institution’s core values and mission, and adopting strategies to ensure future institutional vitality.

Has had or is having through his/her personal involvement a positive impact on higher education and/or on society in general through his/her institutional leadership role.

Demonstrates collaborative partnerships within the campus or externally that enhance institutional ability to achieve excellence both within the institution and for the greater good.

Is a futurist comfortable in “stretching the envelope,” uncovering and seizing opportunities to advance the institution.

Positions the institution to thrive in an uncertain future, anticipating trends and developing strategies to manage change.

About the TIAA-CREF Institute
The mission of the TIAA-CREF Institute is to foster objective research, build knowledge, support thought leadership, and enhance understanding of strategic issues related to higher education and lifelong financial security. For additional information, please visit

TIAA-CREF ( is a national financial services organization with $453 billion in combined assets under management (as of 12/31/10) and provides retirement services to the academic, research, medical, governmental, and cultural fields.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeannine DeFoe, TIAA-CREF ▪ 212-913-3501 ▪ 917-837-2094 ▪

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