Fund raising starts at top

The Education Beat

Confidence: UMBC president sets an example in academic giving.

November 14, 2001|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

FREEMAN A. Hrabowski III, the irrepressible president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is putting lots of his money where his mouth is.

In a gesture that's rare in public higher education, Hrabowski has pledged $250,000 over five years to the school he has led for a decade. "I want to set an example for others who might want to give," said Hrabowski, "and I want people to know how much I believe in the place."

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, some private college leaders, particularly those heading religiously affiliated schools, return some or all of their salaries, as do a few wealthy campus executives, such as University of Denver Chancellor David L. Ritchie.

But personal commitments from public university presidents are rare. "I'm not a rich man," said Hrabowski, who is paid $318,000, "but I feel blessed. The 15 years I've been here have been the most incredible of my life."

Hrabowski is co-author of a new book, Overcoming the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African-American Women. Companion to the 1998 Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African-American Males, the new book is based on three years of interviews with more than 100 families. He's donating royalties from the books' sales to UMBC as well.

An appropriate job for a former governor

When Calvin W. Burnett announced his retirement as president of Coppin State College last week, it brought to four the number of top-level vacancies in the University System of Maryland. The system is looking for presidents at Coppin, the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore and the University of Baltimore, as well as a successor to retiring system Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg.

The search for a chancellor is the most troublesome because, as Sun staff writer David Nitkin reported recently, the maybe/maybe not candidacy of Gov. Parris N. Glendening has poisoned the well for candidates with national reputations. Who wants to go after a job that's widely regarded as greased for Glendening - even if it is to lead the nation's 12th-largest university system at a salary of $345,000?

Here's how the Board of Regents can solve the problem: Create a highly visible, highly paid job for Glendening and have it waiting for him when he completes his second term next year. (He can't succeed himself.)

The governor is, after all, a former professor with a long career in public service, and he's been generous to the state's colleges and universities. So why not set him up as head of something like the Center for the Study of Politics in Higher Education? Such a move would free up the search for chancellor and save Glendening from one of that job's liabilities: having to deal with the conflicting demands of 13 campus presidents.

High school poets stand and deliver

It takes guts to stand on the stage at a poetry-reading contest and bare your soul before a panel of frowning judges and a room full of competing poets. But that's what 30 high school students did early this month at the annual contest sponsored by Grub Street, the Towson University literary and arts magazine.

The winner - and it was a close call - was Nora Rawn, a senior at Towson High School. Second and third prizes went to Benjamin Paley and Ariana Deignan-Kosmides, respectively. Both are seniors at the Carver Center for Arts in Towson.

Other schools participating were Polytechnic Institute, the Rosedale Alternative School in Baltimore County, Howard High School and Pikesville Senior High School.

Higher education resists economic slowdown

There's no recession in Maryland's college and university enrollment. It increased 5.3 percent this year, to a record 286,000, according to the state's annual enrollment report. That's the largest one-year increase since 1974.

The growth occurred in every sector, among full- and part-time students and in undergraduate and graduate programs. Six of 10 new students are women, and 59 percent of the state's college and university students are women.

Look for another banner year for community colleges. These schools thrive when economic times are tough, as students enter part-time technical and professional programs.

Setting a sober tone for the high school prom

Another sign of the times: The Allegany County school board last night was considering a policy that would ban beer mugs, wine glasses and brandy snifters as prom mementos.

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