UMBC president Freeman Hrabowski
Freeman Hrabowski spoke with the conviction of an evangelist Wednesday night — his voice thundering so loudly that the microphone gave feed back at one point — as he implored a room filled with local business leaders, startup founders and political officials to “see technology throughout our society.”
“We want people to remember [Baltimore] is a place … that can really appreciate what education can do for people,” said Hrabowski, UMBC president since 1992 and named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People worldwide in 2012.
Given the setting — the annual meeting of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore — his message was especially prescient. As EAGB president Tom Sadowski said before Hrabowski’s remarks, the goal of the alliance is to market greater Baltimore as “a world-class region in which to work, learn and invest.”
Watch Freeman Hrabowski’s remarks at the EAGB meeting.
The meeting itself was an opportunity for thought leaders in and around Baltimore city to gather and chat, with something of a pep rally for adults celebrating Baltimore midway through. (Bear in mind, it was EAGB’s Sadowski who reprimanded Ignite attendees in October for being “pathologically modest” about Charm City.)
Sadowski, a 1989 graduate of UMBC, and EAGB board chair Michael Baader ticked off several of the alliance’s accomplishments and hinted at what’s to come in future months.
- At present, EAGB is working with “seven international firms,” said Sadowski, interested in relocating to or placing offices in Baltimore, although names of firms have yet to be revealed.
- Thirty companies in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area were named to the most recent Inc. magazine 500 list.
- Baader noted that Baltimore has the “fourth highest concentration of graduate and doctorate degrees among the top 25 metro areas” in the U.S.
- The city’s burgeoning education technology scene, flying high in recent months thanks to such startups as the Digital Harbor Foundation, Common Curriculum and StraighterLine, received a nod from the EAGB, which just published a white paper on EdTech in Charm City.
Not to mention the remarks delivered by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, his own attendance indicative of the clout this area has been accumulating, who said “the success of Maryland … is relying on the success of Baltimore city and the greater Baltimore region.”
But Freeman Hrabowski’s keynote struck the most important note of the evening. Under his tenure as president, UMBC has become a number one up-and-coming national university according to U.S. News. Much of Hrabowski’s focus, he said in his keynote address, has been on getting kids “of all races to be excellent in science and technology.”
“I want to see every kid, boy and girl, understand that it’s cool to be involved in technology,” Hrabowski said.
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