50 Years of Grit & Greatness

A message from our President and Provost:

The UMBC community’s journey started when the University welcomed its first students on September 19, 1966. We are delighted now to provide a preview of exciting plans to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Our celebration will honor many facets of the UMBC experience and span the period between October 2015 and May 2017. You will see several early elements of the celebration during Homecoming 2015, including:

  • Introduction of the anniversary brand – UMBC 50 Grit & Greatness. This brand statement, developed through a year of consultation with alumni and others, is inspired by our mascot True Grit as well as the innovation and perseverance of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The statement reflects how far we have come as a campus and as individuals, as well as our understanding that excellence is a continuous pursuit, not a destination.
  • Launch of 50th anniversary outreach to alumni leaders who will help us reconnect fellow graduates with the campus. Our message: We Need Hundreds of You to Reach Thousands of Us. We are delighted that hundreds of graduates will be on campus Friday evening, October 9, for an event celebrating the important role alumni play in the University’s success. We look forward to greeting them, alongside members of the President’s Council, Senate leaders, academic department chairs, 50th Anniversary Engagement Team members, and Student Alumni Association members.
  • The Office of Institutional Advancement also seeks partners to plan the celebration and is designating funds to support innovations in alumni outreach. A Request for Proposals seeks campus and alumni suggestions for developing and executing 50th anniversary programming and events this academic year and next, with special emphasis on a celebration weekend planned for September 17-19, 2016.

UMBC’s 50th anniversary is an important time to celebrate our success. It also represents a vital strategic opportunity. As the campus completes a new strategic plan and prepares for a comprehensive fundraising campaign, anniversary events and communications will build pride in the campus and its extraordinary impact in just 50 years. The celebration also provides a significant opportunity to renew and deepen relationships with our more than 65,000 alumni. During the past 10 years, 20,000 alumni have been event participants, volunteers, or donors. Alumni engagement is a central focus of 50th anniversary planning, with the aim of increasing the number of active alumni by 10,000, or 50 percent. Change at this scale depends on a campus-wide effort.

We deeply appreciate the ideas, energy, and resources so many members of our community are bringing to this once-in-a-generation opportunity. Our alumni are the best advocates for our endeavors and aspirations, and we are confident that the campus celebration of the 50th will benefit UMBC for decades to come.

If you have ideas to share about the 50th celebration, please contact Lisa Akchin, associate vice president for engagement, at akchin@umbc.edu.

We look forward to celebrating this exceptional campus community with you.

– President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous

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