Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III was named the winner of The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2023 Public Welfare Medal for his leadership in bolstering U.S. science education and cultural diversity within the science workforce.
Hrabowski – a mathematician, educator, and higher education advocate – was formerly president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) for 30 years. At UMBC, he helped transform the school into a top-tier research university and co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program for diverse students in science and engineering.
“Freeman Hrabowski’s visionary leadership in broadening diversity and inclusiveness in American science is simply unmatched within higher education,” said Dr. Susan Wessler, NAS home secretary and chair of the award selection committee. “As an educator and mentor, he has inspired hundreds to follow in his footsteps and become much-needed forces of change in the U.S. research enterprise.”
He also serves as a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the American Philosophical Society.
Hrabowski retired in 2022 but remains active in his pursuits to improve higher ed. He is the inaugural American Council on Education Centennial Fellow; consultant to the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health; and board member for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, T. Rowe Price Group, McCormick & Company, and the Baltimore Equitable Society.
“Freeman Hrabowski has revolutionized science and engineering education, dedicating his career to ensuring that working- and middle-class Americans of all races have the opportunity to become world-class scientists, engineers, and leaders,” said NAS President Dr. Marcia McNutt. “Our entire science ecosystem is stronger because of his efforts, and our nation is reaping the benefits. I am thrilled to present him with our highest honor.”
Over the course of his career, Hrabowski has received numerous awards for his work, including the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. And in 2012, then-President Barack Obama appointed him chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Hrabowski holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Hampton Institute; and a master’s degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. in higher education administration and statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.