Commencement Speaker 2018

This year's keynote speaker will be Freeman A. Hrabowski III, who has served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, since 1992. Hrabowski is a highly respected leader in American higher education as well as science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance.

Also being recognized at this year's commencement with an honorary doctorate will be L. Lee Knefelkamp, professor emerita of psychology and education in the program of social organizational psychology at Teachers College of Columbia University, where she has also chaired the Department of Adult and Higher Education.


Freeman A. Hrabowski III

Freeman A. Hrabowski III

Freeman A. Hrabowski III has served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies committee that produced the 2011 report, “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.” He was named in 2012 by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. His 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.”

In 2011, Hrabowski received both the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Academic Leadership Award, recognized by many as the nation’s two highest awards to higher education leaders. In 2012, he received the Heinz Award for his contributions to improving the human condition and was among the inaugural inductees into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Leadership Hall of Fame.

Hrabowski serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and universities and school systems across the country. He also serves on the boards of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation (chair), T. Rowe Price Group, the Urban Institute, McCormick & Company and the Baltimore Equitable Society. He served previously on the boards of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Maryland Humanities Council (as both member and chair).

With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, Freeman Hrabowski co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering and advancing underrepresented minorities in these fields.

Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, “Beating the Odds” and “Overcoming the Odds” (Oxford University Press), focusing on parenting and high-achieving African-American males and females in science. His most recent book, “Holding Fast to Dreams: Empowering Youth from the Civil Rights Crusade to STEM Achievement” (Beacon Press, 2015), describes the events and experiences that played a central role in his own development as an educator and leader.

A child-leader in the civil rights movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, “Four Little Girls,” about the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church.

Born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama, Hrabowski graduated from Hampton Institute with highest honors in mathematics. He earned his M.A. in mathematics and Ph.D. in higher education administration/statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

To learn more about commencement speaker Freeman Hrabowski:


L. Lee Knefelkamp

L. Lee Knefelkamp

L. Lee Knefelkamp served in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica from 1968 to 1970. She holds a B.A. degree in literature and humanities studies from Macalester College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Minnesota. She has been a faculty member and program chair of counseling and student development at the University of Maryland; dean of the School of Education at the American University in Washington, D.C.; academic dean of the faculty at Macalester College; and senior fellow with the American Association for Higher Education. She is professor emerita of psychology and education in the program of social organizational psychology at Teachers College of Columbia University, where she has also chaired the Department of Adult and Higher Education.

For the past 20 years, Knefelkamp has been a senior scholar with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Most recently, she has contributed significantly to AAC&U’s Core Commitments initiative, which studied five dimensions of student personal and civic responsibility as outcomes of a college education and generated the widely-used Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory.

Knefelkamp is considered one of the pioneering U.S. scholars in the area of intellectual and ethical development. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and chapters in the areas of intellectual and cognitive development, ethical and moral development, identity development, adult learning and pedagogical design for effective learning environments. A major emphasis of her scholarly work and consultation is on understanding organizational and educational climate and how to make those climates more responsive to both domestic and global aspects of personal and cultural diversity. Her book, “Applying New Developmental Findings,” co-edited with Carole Widick and Clyde A. Parker, was the first in American higher education to present a coherent conceptual mapping of student development theory and research — a mapping that has become the standard taxonomy to this day.

For 35 years, Knefelkamp has been the most active researcher of William G. Perry Jr.’s model of intellectual and ethical development. She (along with Widick) developed the first pedagogical designs using the model to promote intellectual growth of learners; the most widely used assessment measure for the model (the Measure of Intellectual Development, or MID); and the assessment procedures (and training manual) for determining the distinctions between and among the nine complexity positions of the model. For the past 20 years, her research has focused on the integration of intellectual and identity models with Milton Bennett’s model of intercultural sensitivity.

Lee Knefelkamp teaches a wide range of courses in both intercultural communication and professional ethics. She is particularly knowledgeable in the study of ethical issues in the context of intercultural and global issues and how the ethical stances of individuals, groups and organizations are formed in an intercultural context. She is particularly interested in the differences between a naïve, early stage of intellectual thought, in which the individual often thinks dichotomously (dualistically), and the pernicious form of dichotomous thought that produces authoritarianism and bigoted thought and action.