How UMBC Leads the Way Beyond Basketball
It is one for the record books. The UMBC’s men’s basketball team came into the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championships ranked #16. But that didn’t stop them from using grit, determination, hard work and passion to be the first team playing in March Madness and beat #1 seed University of Virginia by an astonishing 20 points. While many were surprised by the upset and had never heard of the relatively young school in the University of Maryland system, those of us who know the school and its fearless, visionary leader knew this day was coming.
Perhaps the New York Times said it best:
“…the biggest upset ever in the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament catapulted a school whose competitive claim to fame had long been chess into sports history. But the U.M.B.C. Cinderella story transcends athletics, and has been decades in the making. The university, founded in 1966, is better known for producing the most African-American students who go on to complete combined M.D.-Ph.D. programs than it is for turning out professional athletes.”
Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), gets the credit for both these victories. In talking with Fast Company he explains his goals in this way: “When most people see young black men walking across a campus, they think, ‘There goes the basketball team’. We want them to think, ‘There goes the chemistry honors society’.” There is really not much difference between the mindset needed for sports or scientific achievement. Dedication to a goal, expressed through long hours of hard work, is essential to success in both sports and academics. And UMBC does not allow minority students to cut corners in order to succeed in either field.
Dr. Hrabowski and the outstanding UMBC engineering and biotech programs is one of the main reasons Potomac moved to the BW Tech South campus associated with UMBC. Any high tech company is only as good as the talent it can attract to drive innovation. With close proximity to UMBC, we have brought interns and team members into our digital fabrication workforce programs for laser micromachining, microfluidics, 3D Printing, and CAD design. The work ethic coming out of UMBC programs fits perfectly into the daily operation of our company that is dedicated to providing consistently high quality for our customers’ challenging problems. Whether building medical devices, lab on a chip, or consumer products, our people always put winning first, a trait common to engineering or basketball.
Thank you, Dr. Hrabowski, for instilling this winning mindset in all UMBC programs!