Ticket to Wine: 12th annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction raises over $4,800 for student scholarships

CYA-Wine-Tasting17-9500Who doesn’t love trains? Guests got to revisit their love of the rails at the B&O Railroad Museum on Friday, May 19 for the Chapter of Young Alumni’s 12th Annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction. Members and supporters of the UMBC community came together for a night of fundraising that raised over $4,800 for student scholarships.

The night featured remarks from Leslie Walker-Wilson ’74, psychology, past president of the UMBC Alumni Association, and Courtney B. Wilson, Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum.

Another highlight: a special video message from Dr. Freeman Hrabowski.

CYA-Wine-Tasting17-9223While guests mingled and ate delicious food, they listened to music from UMBC’s own Jazz Ensemble. They also had the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets and bid on silent auction items. Thanks to our local business partners, we featured packages such as Charm City Date Night and Northern MD Wine Tour.

Relive the night by visiting our Facebook album or the Pixilated photobooth gallery.

Want to help us raise more scholarship funds? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Visit giving.umbc.edu and select Give Now from the menu.
  2. Select Event when asked what prompted you to give to UMBC.
  3. Select Other from the gift designation drop-down, and add Alumni Association Scholarship – Current Use in the field below.

Thank you!


— The Chapter of Young Alumni Board

All photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

A Sweet Success: Reflections on Sweeten Up Your Network 2017

33206351623_3f2bc1eabe_oIn partnership with the Career Center and the Office of Alumni Relations, the UMBC Student Alumni Association (SAA) was proud to host the annual Sweeten Up Your Network event on Tuesday, April 11. As one of Career Month’s staple events, Sweeten Up Your Network is open to students and alumni from all majors and years, and is almost entirely planned and executed by a team of SAA members. Because of their amazing efforts, this year we had just under 30 alumni and over 50 students participate!

As the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, I have the honor and privilege of supporting both current students and alumni in developing programming that connects them to campus and one another. Sweeten Up Your Network is one of the most special examples of how these types of programs can really impact both sides of the speed networking table. I asked two participants from the evening to share a little more about their experience.

Julia Celtnieks ‘13, Media & Communication Studies

Despite being a relatively recent alumna, as well as a staff member, I’d never made it to Sweeten Up Your Network before this year. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the opportunity to help students hone their networking skills, as well as offer some of my insights as a young professional. As it turned out, I had as much to learn from this experience as they did!

Most of the students I met and spoke with were going into fields completely different than my own: the sciences, psychology, engineering. At first it was challenging to tailor the conversation to their specific experiences, but then I realized I didn’t have to. There are plenty of ways to make connections, and many things I’ve learned over the course of my post-grad life, like the ins and outs of entry-level job searching, can apply to almost any area. Sweeten Up Your Network is really about getting students used to the idea of networking in general, and I think giving them the chance to talk with alumni in a variety of careers is what makes it so unique…and so perennially popular.

Alida Hartwell ‘19, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

I have been with SAA since the fall 2016 semester. SAA is full of amazingly motivated and helpful people. They always manage to make our meetings not only productive, but fun as well. All SAA events that I have participated in have felt like that, too. I also love that our events are planned and run by the SAA members.

Specifically relating to this event, I was very excited going into it. Ever since I joined SAA, the upperclassmen have talked up Sweeten Up Your Network. My experience was even better than what I was expecting. There were so many alumni from all different fields. I got the chance to speak with people who are in fields that I am considering going into, which was awesome for me because I got to see how powerful a degree from UMBC can be in the real world. Even talking to people from different degrees and fields was eye-opening. All of the alumni were passionate about UMBC and still love it […] it made me feel very proud to be attending this university. Overall, I think the best thing about Sweeten Up Your Network was the chance to see what it will be like years after graduation, whether that is what careers people with my major have or how much Retriever pride alumni carry with them!

33206351523_5884d6e832_oSo there you have it! If you’re an alum who wants to give back to the UMBC community, click HERE to learn about all the pathways to get involved. We’ve always got events and programs going on that could use your support.

Jessica Wyatt, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations

Here’s What’s Happening in November 2016

Happy fall, y’all! With Halloween gone and the holidays ahead of us, let’s see what’s on the alumni calendar for the month of November…


Tuesday, November 1
Men’s Basketball Tip-Off Dinner
6 p.m., Bond Street Wharf, 901 S. Bond St., Baltimore, MD 21231

Tonight, friends and fans of the UMBC men’s basketball team will gather to welcome our new head coach, Ryan Odom. If you can’t make it, you can still make a gift to help support Athletics here.


Wednesday, November 9
W.E.B. Du Bois Distinguished Lecture: From Black Lives Matter to the 2016 Elections
7-8:30 p.m., University Center Ballroom

For the 38th installment of the Africana Studies department’s W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture Series, Cathy J. Cohen, David and Mary Winston Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Chicago, will examine the future of black politics in a post-Obama era. This event is free and open to the public!

Saturday, November 19
Puppy Love: Retrieve the Romance
7 p.m., The Skylight Room

If you met your sweetheart here at UMBC (just like these fine folks did), we invite you and yours to join us for a special evening in the Skylight Room, featuring food, dancing, and an open bar! Event starts at 7 p.m., with remarks from Dr. Hrabowski at 8:30. Hurry! Tickets for this one are bound to go fast.

For more UMBC events happening throughout the month, check out our Arts and Culture Calendar or the Retriever Athletics Schedule!


Around the Horn: Photos from the Alumni Awards, The Golden Ball, and Grit & Greekness

While September 19 may have come and gone, our 50th anniversary celebration is far from over, and we’ve had a busy couple of weeks to prove it! Here’s a brief recap of our most recent 50th events.

2016 Alumni Awards

On Thursday, October 6, we celebrated the achievements and contributions of a stellar group of alumni (who you can read about here) at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall. UMBC News has the full recap, but you can see a few  of our favorite photos from the event below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Golden Ball

The Visual Arts department held their 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, October 15, beginning as an exhibition and open house during the day and carrying on into the evening as an elaborate costume party. From vintage tintypes and an anamorphic chalk drawing of True Grit to some truly wild Bauhaus-era getups, The Golden Ball was a feast for the eyes all around. Tim Nohe, professor of visual arts, provided us with some snapshots of the day’s events, with help from Charles Myers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grit & Greekness Alumni Celebration

Elsewhere on Saturday, generations of Greek life alumni gathered at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) to celebrate the past 50 years and look ahead into the future. “It was incredible getting to reconnect with sisters[,] meet sisters from the past, and talk about how things changed or stayed the same!” said Poulomi Banerjee ’16, health administration and policy, a Phi Sigma Sigma alumna who also spoke at the event.

The evening featured a special musical performance by Rob Manfredi ’88, computer science, and Tim Marsh, and culminated in a step show by the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma and the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta. “The energy was infectious and it seems like everyone had a wonderful time,” said Stanyell Odom, UMBC’s director of alumni relations.

She continued: “For many, it was their first time attending an alumni event and we hope that each and every alum remembers that UMBC will always be their home and that there are many ways to stay connected with a place that holds such a special place in their hearts.”

Check out a slideshow from the evening below. (All photos by Marlayna Demond ’11.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Head to the alumni website to update your contact info and get up to date on all our alumni gatherings!

50th Anniversary Weekend 2.0: Visual Arts Golden Ball and Grit & Greekness Alumni Celebration

Miss our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend back in September? Never fear, because tomorrow, Saturday, October 15, we’ve got not one, but two chances to celebrate our 50th year in style!


On-campus from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., check out the Visual Arts department’s Golden Ball, a day-long exhibition culminating in a lavish, Weimar Bauhaus-style costume party. Come in costume and enjoy a cash bar, free snacks, and the company of your fellow Visual Arts alumni. Admission is free, but do let us know if you’ll be attending here.


Meanwhile, at the Columbus Center in downtown Baltimore, our Grit & Greekness Alumni Celebration kicks off at 8 p.m. Reconnect with your brothers and sisters, and hear special remarks from Dr. Hrabowski and generations of Greek Life alumni, as we honor the legacy of UMBC’s fraternities and sororities. With an open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and plenty of dancing, it’s bound to be a singular event. Register here!

Be sure to share the memories you make at these events on Retriever Stories, or by using the #UMBC50 hashtag on Facebook or Twitter. We can’t wait to celebrate with you again!

Check out the rest of our calendar, update your contact information, and find out how you can get involved with our alumni community here.

Event Roundup: December 2015

12308698624_f718772bef_z.jpgWelcome back! We hope you had a restful holiday weekend. There are plenty of great alumni events coming up in the next month, so take a look here!


  • Impressions: The Power of Personal Branding. Wednesday, December 2, 8-9 p.m. Coyte Cooper will give you tips on how to tweak and leverage your brand by listening to those with whom you interact, and understand who you are better to create a more authentic brand. Register here!
  • Dream Job Revolution! Get the Job You Want. Wednesday, December 9, 8-9 p.m. Author, success coach, and entrepreneur Mitch Matthews has spent the last 10 years interviewing people who have their dream jobs, and he’s here to share their wisdom with all of you. Register here!
  • How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. Wednesday, December 16, 8-9 p.m. Join Michael Gelb to learn more about harnessing your creative potential and unique intelligence through the Seven da Vincian Principles, from curiosity to “connessione.” Register here!
  • What Color is Your Parachute? For Retirement. Wednesday, December 23, 8-9 p.m. Nearing retirement? Wondering what the next steps are to create a happy, secure future? Let John E. Nelson give you some guidance! Register here!


  • Men’s Lacrosse Holiday Dinner. Wednesday, December 16, 7 p.m. Join men’s lacrosse at Dalesio’s in Little Italy for buffet appetizers, a plated dinner, and dessert. Tickets are $75 ($60 fair market value). Registration and more info here!

Visit the Alumni Association website to update your contact information, submit class notes, and keep up with our calendar!

Alumni with Grit and Greatness

UMBC alumni and faculty greeted each other with beaming smiles and excited chatter at this year’s Alumni Awards Ceremony, held on October 8, 2015. Among bright arrangements of orange roses and green orchids, caterers weaved through the crowd as everyone reconnected before finding their seats for an emotional program honoring the achievements of alumni and the faculty, staff, and other community members who shaped their time at UMBC.

As President Freeman Hrabowski kicked off the event, he offered advice to alumni back at UMBC for the first time in a few years, who might not recognize the campus after its tremendous growth. “Don’t feel old,” Hrabowski suggested, “just feel…vintage.”

UMBC’s 2015 Award Winners

It was an evening for storytelling—sharing memories of courage, creativity, commitment, and grit.

This year’s honorees included Distinguished Service Award winner Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman ’81, political science, a former state senator who worked across party lines to support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

As a child, Nicole DeBlase ’06, financial economics, had dreamed of dancing on Broadway. Through her studies at UMBC she found a new path to New York, where she is now a star on Wall Street as a Morgan Stanley executive.

Andre Gudger ’99, information systems, who currently serves in the Obama administration, received the Engineering and IT Award. Gruger was previously chairman and CEO of Solvern Innovations, which he grew to 1,300 employees in eight years.

Natural and Mathematical Sciences Award winner Yoon-Ho Kim ’01, Ph.D. physics, wrote his doctoral dissertation on quantum teleportation. Professor Todd Pittman, M.S. ’92, Ph.D. ’96, physics, who accepted the award in Kim’s absence, told the audience that his work is “almost as Star Trek as it sounds.”

Bryan Kelly ’92, economics, winner of the Social and Behavioral Sciences award, was honored as a business leader with a distinctive personal commitment to his community, as evidenced by his tangible support and mentorship of others.

The Visual and Performing Arts awardee, Lisa Urkevich ’86, music, received honors for her work as a global leader in ethnomusicology research and teaching whose work in the Arabian Peninsula transcends cultural difference.

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, Andy Gotsch ’12, and Tara Carpenter enjoy the Alumni Awards.

Andy Gotsch ’12, chemical engineering, told a particularly moving personal story in presenting this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award. He shared the tremendous, lasting impact Tara Carpenter, senior lecturer in chemistry and biochemistry, has had on his life. Gotsch failed Carpenter’s Chemistry 101 course twice and was looking at a third failure, despite his putting in hours of extra study time. Carpenter urged Gotsch to be evaluated for test anxiety and connected him with supportive resources that eventually enabled him to pass the class and go on to earn a chemical engineering degree.

As the crowd cheered, Carpenter accepted the award with tears in her eyes, telling Gotsch, “I’m so proud of you.”

Photos by Marlayna Demond ’11

See more photos from the event.