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UC Gives Renowned Educator Freeman Hrabowski the President’s Award for Excellence

UC President Santa J. Ono presented the award to Hrabowski on Jan. 13 for contributing to the participation of minorities in math and science education. Hrabowski was a guest speaker in the McMicken Lecture Series.

Date: 1/13/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Courtney Danser
Phone: (513) 556-8577

UC ingot   University of Cincinnati President Santa J. Ono awarded renowned educator Freeman A. Hrabowski III the President’s Award for Excellence on Jan. 13. Hrabowski received the award prior to his lecture for the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences lecture series.

Hrabowski is a TED speaker and has served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992. His research focus is on minority participation and performance in science and math education. He was recently named by President Barack Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans and in 2008 he was named one of America’s top leaders by U.S. News and World Report. 
Freeman Hrabowski and President Santa Ono
Freeman Hrabowski accepts the President's Award for Excellence from UC President Santa J. Ono..

Hrabowski’s lecture, explaining the four pillars of college success in science, was part of the interdisciplinary “Transforming the World, Advancing Humanity” lecture series.

The President’s Award for Excellence is given to individuals, internal or external to UC, who have made a significant contribution to the mission and ideals of the university. 

“It’s not just because he is a great university president that I’ve decided to make a special award presentation to him today,” said Ono. “It’s because of his deep commitment as an educator to change the status quo and to break new ground with innovative approaches.” 

In honor of the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance, Ono also shared a story about Hrabowski’s participation and passion for the Civil Rights Movement even as a child. 

“At the age of 12, Freeman participated in a demonstration led by the great Martin Luther King,” Ono said, admitting that he had just learned this fact. “And when the march was stopped by authorities, demonstrators were arrested. And I’m told that at the age of 12, [he] spent a week in jail along with Rev. King.”

Hrabowski also discussed the significance of that march after the acceptance of his award. He recalled a time sitting in the back of church, distracted by the math problems he brought along to work on, but half listening to the sermon going on around him. 

“I heard this man say that if the children could show America that they cared about their own education by participating in this march, Americans would be impressed and understand why it was important to desegregate schools,” Hrabowski recalled.

And that statement inspired him. 

“It was the first time I heard someone suggest that the world of today doesn’t have to be the world of tomorrow.”  

Diversity and Inclusion at UC
The University of Cincinnati embraces diversity and inclusion as core values that empower individuals to transform their lives and achieve their highest potential. For more information, go to

Upcoming Lectures
The inaugural McMicken Lecture Series will also feature the following speakers and topics during the spring 2014 semester:
• “Military & Society: A Cross-National Perspective” by Steve Carlton-Ford; 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20, in Room 220, TUC Cinema. 
• “The Human-Environment System. Where does a person end and the world begin?” by Tony Chemero; 3 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, in Room 220, TUC Cinema. 

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