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!

Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Kimberly Moffitt, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

The 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony is just hours away, and for our last profile, we’d like to introduce you to this year’s Outstanding Faculty Award recipient. Dr. Kimberly Moffitt is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies and the Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. Program here at UMBC, but as we’ll see below, those are just two of the many ways she’s contributed to both our campus and the city of Baltimore.

k-moffit_headshotAs a professor of American studies, Dr. Kimberly Moffitt’s academic interests encompass several aspects of the American experience, from representations of marginalized populations to Black hair and body politics, typically viewed through the lens of the media and popular culture. She also heads the University Faculty Senate, and has recently joined the faculty of Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. program, which she says both helps her to stay engaged in the research process and to cultivate the next generation of academics. Her current projects include an exploration of the ways diverse children are portrayed in Disney media, as well as an edited volume on the TV series Scandal. Dr. Moffitt is also an active and vocal presence in local Baltimore media, frequently appearing on WYPR and WEAA-FM’s The Marc Steiner Show, and contributing op-eds to the Baltimore Sun. In addition, she is the founding parent and board member of the Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys Public Charter School.

When asked what she admires about her students, Dr. Moffitt can sum it up in one word: “GRIT!” She appreciates the chance to work with strongly gifted students who work to balance academics with their other responsibilities, but who also “recognize the need for support along the way.” She fondly remembers the last day of her first Seminar on Black Hair and Body Politics in the fall of 2010, when students decided to stick around her office after dropping off their final papers. They discussed current events, class topics, plans for the holidays. “I felt like the mother hen for the first time in my academic career,” she says, “surrounded by 20+ students…not yet wanting to leave the ‘nest’ of the classroom and our shared experience, and me not ready to let them fly free, relinquishing that special moment.”

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony TONIGHT at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alumni Awards 2016: Joseph Jones, Jr. ’06, Social Work

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Social Work category is Joseph Jones, Jr. ’06, social work, founder and CEO of Baltimore’s Center for Urban Families.

j-jones_headshotThe Center for Urban Families (CFUF), the Mondawmin-based nonprofit founded by Joe Jones in 1999, seeks to provide services to Baltimore’s most marginalized citizens, ranging from job training and placement to responsible fatherhood initiatives. Jones says his time at UMBC was instrumental to building his organization, as it put him in touch with “an extended network of influential thought leaders and other stake holders” and taught him a whole new way to look at Baltimore’s potential as a city. In particular, he cites both Dr. Freeman Hrabowski’s inspiring leadership and Dr. James Bembry’s methods class as key influences on his career path. Thanks to what he learned here, he’s since re-engineered the organization to provide more than just job connections, but to help create career paths and work with several generations of the families they serve. In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, Jones led CFUF through a successful $8 million capital campaign, something he considers to be the proudest achievement of his career.  In addition to his work with the Center, Jones has served as an advisor to the past three presidential administrations, most recently serving on President Barack Obama’s Task Force on Fatherhood and Healthy Families. He’s recieved an honorary doctorate from Morgan State University, as well as a Walter Sondheim Public Service Award.

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alumni Awards 2016: Ruby Lu ’94, Economics

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alumna in the Social and Behavioral Sciences category is Ruby Lu ’94, economics, co-founder of the venture capital firm DCM China.

r-lu_headshotRuby Lu is one of the earliest investors in her home country’s technology sector. Part of that pioneering spirit comes from the education she received at UMBC, and she cites several professors as influences throughout her undergraduate career, including her nominator, Dr. David Mitch. “Professor Mitch took a personal interest in my development throughout my years in UMBC,” she says. “Seeing how much he enjoyed books really inspired my love for them.” She also says that Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, then in the earliest days of his presidency, “was and is way ahead of his time in terms of investing our university in innovation…It is common wisdom now that Silicon Valley is successful. However, our president was leading us in that endeavor back in the early ’90s when I was a student.” After graduating, Lu pursued a master’s degree in international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and in 2005, she co-founded the Beijing-based venture firm DCM China. Her investment in China’s e-commerce, software, and healthcare industries has helped to grow companies and create over 300,000 skilled jobs. She says her proudest achievements are “building a leading venture capital firm before venture capitalism became a thriving industry in China,” as well as being a part of that industry’s development. She is currently working to establish a cross-border tech fund to focus on artificial intelligence and applying data science to healthcare.

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Ian Ralby ’02, Modern Languages and Linguistics, and M.A. ’02, Intercultural Communication

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Humanities category is Dr. Ian Ralby ’02, modern languages and linguistics, and M.A. ’02, intercultural communication, founder and CEO of the international consulting firm I.R. Consilium.

i-ralby_headshotEven after completing a law degree at William and Mary and his M.Phil. and Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Ian Ralby still regards the education he received at UMBC as “unequivocally first rate and world class.” The 2002 valedictorian, former Humanities Scholar, and men’s diving team alum fondly remembers the courses that shaped his interest in international studies and the professors who helped him along the way, naming Brigitte May, Bob Sloane, Tom Field, Stan McCray, Jack Sinnigen, Ed Larkey, Gala Stern, John Stolle-McAllister, Angela Moorjani, and the late Carol Barner-Barry as influences. He also considers himself extremely fortunate to have been mentored by UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski. In the years since graduation, Dr. Ralby has worked on the Saddam Hussein trial, served at the center of international efforts to develop accountability for armed contractors and private security companies, and has been influential in developing the maritime security architecture to counter piracy, trafficking, illegal fishing, and other crime in Africa. After finishing his doctorate, he spent two years working in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an international law advisor, while also building his own firm, I.R. Consilium in London. After the Ebola outbreak temporarily shut down his work in 2014, he returned to Maryland and took a position with the US Government’s Africa Center for Strategic studies as an expert on maritime law and security. In addition to continuing that work for the Department of Defense, he is also currently leading the largest study ever conducted on refined oil theft in his role as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Over the last year, he has also relaunched his consultancy, I.R. Consilium as a US company, and is engaged by several major clients on matters of international law, security, geopolitics, and strategy. His prolific publishing and frequent lecturing is a testament to his commitment “to learn, grow, and build on what I have done so far in order to have greater and greater positive effect on people’s safety, security, and quality of life around the world.”

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, in the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alumni Awards 2016: Galina Madjaroff ’08, Psychology, and M.A. ’11, Aging Studies

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. The Rising Star award is given annually to a graduate of the last 10 years who’s excelled in their field. This year’s Rising Star is Galina Madjaroff ’08, psychology, and M.A. ’11, aging studies, undergraduate program director and clinical assistant professor at UMBC’s Erickson School.

g-madjaroff_headshotGalina Madjaroff transferred to UMBC from Montgomery College to earn a biology degree and go on to dental school. “Fortunately,” as she puts it, “life takes you to places you never thought you would find yourself.” Madjaroff had grown up in Bulgaria in an inter-generational family, and as such found herself drawn to the aging services program here at UMBC. That particular upbringing “was one of the [things] that sparked my passion for the aging field,” she says. As an undergraduate and graduate alumna, Madjaroff has worked for the Department of Aging Services in some capacity since 2005, beginning as a student worker in website maintenance. Currently, she is the undergraduate program director for the Erickson School, as well as a clinical assistant professor in that department. Madjaroff is also working on her Ph.D. in human-centered computing here at UMBC, and she says her main goal is to develop technologies that improve the lives of older adults with dementia and cognitive decline. In addition to her responsibilities as a staff member, teacher, and student, Madjaroff also serves as a faculty mentor to student organizations, and performs advising and committee work. “The greatest challenge [in my career] has been managing time!” she says. Madjaroff credits Dr. Judah Ronch, dean of the Erickson School, as a source of inspiration and encouragement to her throughout her career. Her husband, Fred Reitz ’10, political science, is also a UMBC alum, and together they have a daughter, Amelia.

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, at the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.

Alumni Awards 2016: Dr. Henry Baker ’78, Ph.D. ’84, Biological Sciences

In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alum in the Natural and Mathematical Sciences category is Dr. Henry Baker ’78, and Ph.D. ’84, biological sciences. At the University of Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Baker is the Hazel Kitzman Professor of Genetics, as well as a professor of surgery and chair of the department of molecular genetics and microbiology. He is also associate director of the University of Florida Genetics Institute.

h-baker_headshotAs a researcher at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Dr. Henry Baker looks at patients’ genes to determine how they will respond to certain types of treatment for traumatic injuries, as well as what their prognosis might be. The Catonsville native got his start when UMBC was, in his words, “that new college down the street,” conducting undergraduate research in Dr. Frank Hanson’s laboratory. “The biological sciences curriculum was exceptionally well laid out,” he says, “and the integration with undergraduate labs was phenomenal.” After completing his doctorate under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Wolf — someone who Dr. Baker says had the greatest impact on his career — he went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School before accepting a faculty position at Florida, where he’s been ever since. Over the past three decades (and counting), he’s risen in the ranks from assistant professor to endowed professor and department chair, and also sits on the executive and medical admissions committees. He has stayed in contact with his Ph.D. mentor over the years, and says he is proud of how far UMBC has come since he was a student here, particularly in the achievements of President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. He also takes pride in his relationships with friends, family, and colleagues, and in working with diverse groups of people to help them achieve their goals.

Join us for the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 6, in the Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall.