Baltimore Collegetown Network Hosts First Leaders in Higher Education Reception
| By Molly Robey
Baltimore Collegetown Network, a nonprofit organization that works to attract, engage and retain college students in Baltimore, hosted its first Leaders in Higher Education Reception at Baltimore Center Stage the evening of April 19.
The gathering honored UMBC’s retiring president, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, as well as the collective efforts of government and university leaders over the past two years. The reception also welcomed new college leaders and outlined a collaborative, community-focused agenda.
The Baltimore Collegetown Network brings 13 area colleges and universities – including nearly 120,000 students and $17 billion in economic activity – into a consortium that benefits each institution and the region as a whole. The programs and services Baltimore Collegetown provides bring new students to the area and build connections across campuses that encourage students to remain in the Baltimore region after receiving their degrees.
“Geography brings us together, and our willingness to partner and collaborate as a network sets us apart from other college towns,” said Dr. Yvette Mozie-Ross, president of the governing board of the Baltimore Collegetown Network and vice provost for enrollment management and planning at UMBC.
Hrabowski is the longest serving college president in the Baltimore area, with 30 years at the helm of UMBC. He has spent 45 years at Baltimore Collegetown Network institutions, including 10 years at Coppin State University.
He believes strongly in Baltimore being a great college town and encourages students to become involved in internships, volunteerism, leadership development and connections to diverse communities. He is also an advocate for the needs of students, particularly transportation, workforce development and healthy neighborhoods.
“I have been inspired every day throughout my career of more than 40 years in Maryland higher education. As I travel around the country in the years ahead, I will continue talking about the strength of the state’s public and private colleges and universities and also about this amazing network of institutions in the Baltimore region,” Hrabowski said.
At the reception, Hrabowski discussed the importance of collaboration, partnerships and the role of educators to reach as many students as possible. The promise of a college education impacts not only the student pursuing the degree, but the families, neighborhoods and region surrounding and supporting that student. Working regionally is important, he said, because students live regionally; a strong Baltimore depends upon a strong city and strong surrounding counties.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr., joined the gathering to honor Hrabowski for his leadership in higher education in Baltimore and in Maryland. In their remarks, both emphasized the importance of working together to promote Baltimore as a region. They also thanked Collegetown for the positive impact the organization has on Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
While the April 19 reception celebrated the longest-serving Collegetown president, the event also welcomed the newest, Terrence M. Sawyer, J.D., president of Loyola University Maryland.
“As a founding member of Baltimore Collegetown more than 20 years ago, Loyola University Maryland has long understood the power of partnership in our region,” Sawyer said. “We proudly support this organization in the important work of attracting and retaining talented individuals in order to grow and strengthen Baltimore and to hold Baltimore out as a true college town. As we look to the future, these kinds of partnerships are critical to developing our students, our community, our institution and our city.”
Since 1999, the Baltimore Collegetown Network brings 13 colleges and universities together to attract, engage and retain students and raise the profile of Baltimore as a great college town. It offers academic partnerships, internship assistance, marketing, research studies, engagement programs, communities of practice, Collegetown Fellowship and more. One of its best known programs is the Collegetown Shuttle, which transports more than 85,000 riders a year. More information about the Baltimore Collegetown Network may be found at BaltimoreCollegetown.org.