Freeman Hrabowski Named 2021 Boyer Award Recipient

August 13
Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III

The New American Colleges and Universities (NACU) is proud to announce that Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will be the recipient of NACU’s annual Ernest L. Boyer Award in 2021. 

The award honors Ernest Boyer’s legacy by recognizing others who are making significant contributions to American higher education. Boyer was the first to define a New American College which gave rise to NACU, a national consortium of private, comprehensive colleges and universities that are recognized for advancing the integration of liberal education, professional studies, and civic engagement to graduate extraordinary professionals for a global workforce and society.

“We cannot wait to honor President Hrabowski who is a role model for higher education and our country,” said Sean Creighton, NACU president. “Through his distinguished leadership and scholarship, he has advanced education, student equity, and social justice and, ultimately, improved the human condition for countless students.”

Dr. Hrabowski has served as president of UMBC since 1992 and is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. He was named by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He also chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads (2011). His 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.”

Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report (2008), he also received TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence (2011), the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award (2011), and the Heinz Award (2012) for contributions to improving the “Human Condition.” More recently, he received the American Council on Education’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2018) and was named a recipient of the University of California, Berkeley’s Clark Kerr Award (2019). UMBC has been recognized as a model for inclusive excellence by such publications as U.S. News, which the past 10 years has recognized UMBC as a national leader in academic innovation and undergraduate teaching. Dr. Hrabowski’s most recent book, The Empowered University, written with two UMBC colleagues, examines how university communities support academic success by cultivating an empowering institutional culture.

“I am honored to have been selected for this award in recognition of the work my UMBC colleagues are doing to support our students and help them succeed. It is particularly significant for me that the award is named for Ernest Boyer, a hero of mine whose example still inspires so many. Thanks to NACU and all of its member institutions for building on his amazing legacy,” said Dr. Hrabowski.

NACU will present the Annual Boyer Award in January 2021 as part of the Association of American Colleges & Universities Annual Meeting.

Past Boyer Award recipients include Alexander and Helen Astin, Edward Ayers, Betsy O. Barefoot and John N. Gardner, Jose Antonio Bowen, Nancy Cantor, Cathy Davidson, Ira Harkavy, Frederick Lawrence, Carol Geary Schneider, and Beverly Daniel Tatum. The Boyer Award is made possible through the generosity of the Boyer Award Society.