Baltimore Collegetown Network, a non-profit organization that works to attract, engage and retain students in Baltimore, hosted its first Higher Education Leaders Reception at the Baltimore Center Stage on the evening of April 19. .
The rally paid tribute to outgoing UMBC President, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, and to the collective efforts of government and academic leaders over the past two years. The reception also welcomed new college leaders and featured a collaborative community-focused program.
The Baltimore Collegetown Network brings together 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 provided by Baltimore Collegetown attract new students to the area and build campus connections that encourage students to stay in the Baltimore area after graduation.
“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, Baltimore Collegetown Network Board Chair and Vice Provost for enrollment management and scheduling at UMBC.
Hrabowski is the longest-serving college president in the Baltimore area, with 30 years leading UMBC. He spent 45 years at Baltimore Collegetown Network institutions, including 10 years at Coppin State University.
He strongly believes that Baltimore is a great college town and encourages students to get involved in internships, volunteering, leadership development, and connecting with diverse communities. He also advocates for student needs, especially transportation, workforce development, and healthy neighborhoods.
“I have been inspired every day throughout my 40+ year career in higher education in Maryland. As I travel across the country in the years to come, I will continue to speak of the strength of the state’s public and private colleges and universities, as well as this incredible network of institutions in the Baltimore area,” Hrabowski said.
During the reception, Hrabowski discussed the importance of collaboration, partnerships, and the role of educators in reaching as many students as possible. The promise of a college education impacts not only the student who pursues their education, but also the families, neighborhoods and region that surround and support that student. It is important to work regionally, he said, because the students live in the region; a strong Baltimore depends on a strong city and strong surrounding counties.
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. joined the rally to honor Hrabowski for his leadership in higher education in Baltimore and Maryland. In their remarks, the two stressed the importance of working together to promote Baltimore as a region. They also thanked Collegetown for the positive impact the organization is having on Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
While the April 19 reception celebrated Collegetown’s oldest president, the event also hosted the most recent, Terrence M. Sawyer, JD, president of Loyola University of Maryland.
“As a founding member of Baltimore Collegetown more than 20 years ago, Loyola University of 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 people to grow and strengthen Baltimore and make Baltimore a true college town. As we look to the future, these types of partnerships are essential to the development of our students, our community, our institution and our city.
Since 1999, the Baltimore Collegetown Network has brought together 13 colleges and universities to attract, engage, and retain students and raise Baltimore’s profile as a great college town. It offers academic partnerships, internship support, marketing, research studies, engagement programs, communities of practice, Collegetown scholarship and more. One of its best-known programs is the Collegetown Shuttle, which carries more than 85,000 passengers a year. More information about the Baltimore Collegetown Network can be found at BaltimoreCollegetown.org.