Weekly Wisdom Episode 9: Interview with Freeman Hrabowski President of UMBC

Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance, and Jeff Selingo, author, columnist, and special advisor at Arizona State University, are inviting insight and experiences from presidents and chancellors of universities navigating the challenge in real-time. The ninth guest is University of Maryland, Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III. Together, they discussed his leadership, overcoming the challenges of this moment, and what is giving him hope

How is he holding up?

Mr. Hrabowski gladly answers that he's holding up well during this troublesome time. His students and staff give him strength and inspiration every day.

Nowadays, the US faces many challenges, including the health crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues regarding structural racism, and the problems with the economy. So he emphasized that this is the time that sheds light on our character as a country. As leaders and educators, he says that it's important to encourage people that, "We can do this."

For someone who has served for 28 years, what kind of framework do you think a leader of an institution should have?

Mr. Hrabowski says that it's essential to think about the importance of the community of the people around you. "It's not just reaching the goal line, it is about how we get there," he added.

In these stressful times, Mr. Hrabowski says that we need to think about being supportive of each other and keeping a kind of calmness. It's important to bring honesty to work so we can hear each other, whether it's about the fears that people have about this disease or about the challenges involving racism.

In these challenging times, what gives him hope?

For Mr. Hrabowski, he believes that as human beings, we all make progress. Sometimes we slide back, we learn things, and we move ahead. Mr. Hrabowski is hopeful that Americans will one day say that "enough is enough" and "we're better than this." He believes that at every level, we've been able to say, "we're better than this," and eventually, progress comes after. That's what gives him hope.

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