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Press Release

Nationally esteemed STEM educator coming to MSU Denver

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: January 29, 2013

DENVER – Metropolitan State University of Denver announces eminent educator Freeman A. Hrabowski III as this year’s Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professor.

On Feb. 18, Hrabowski will give a series of lectures on campus and in the community about his work as an educator and as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), a school described as a springboard for producing African-American Ph.D.s in science and engineering.

The Visiting Professorship, initiated in 1981 to foster multiculturalism, diversity and academic excellence at MSU Denver, brings renowned scholars and artists of distinction to the University to conduct classes, seminars, performances and lectures for students, faculty and the larger Denver community.

In the two decades Hrabowski has served as president of UMBC, he has increased the number of students majoring in math and science, with almost half of all UMBC students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in math and technology. UMBC’s rise from a mid-sized commuter school to an honors university with a growing research program was featured on 60 Minutes in 2011, and for the past 4 years, UMBC has ranked as the No. 1 “Up and Coming” university in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Hrabowski’s long-standing commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, particularly among students traditionally underrepresented in STEM programs, has won him and UMBC multiple distinctions.

TIME named Hrabowski one of America’s “10 Best College Presidents” in 2009, and he was included on the magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” last year. The Washington Post selected him as one of seven “Top American Leaders” in 2011. Hrabowski was recently named by President Barack Obama to head the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

A gifted student who grew up in Alabama and was active in the civil rights movement, Hrabowski spent 5 days in jail when he was 12 after participating in the 1963 children's march in Birmingham. He graduated from high school when he was 15, finished college when he was 19 and had a Ph.D. by the time he was 24.

Hrabowski will speak to students in the Tivoli Student Union Multicultural Lounge on the Auraria Campus during the day on Feb. 18 and at the Noel Community Event at Shorter Community AME Church, 3100 Richard Allen Court, from 6-9 p.m. Hrabowski’s community keynote address is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Hope for the Future Noel Award winners Patty Quinones, principal at Skyline High School in Longmont, and Kristen Waters, principal at South High School in Denver, will be honored for transforming their respective schools into high-performing, innovative centers for academic achievement. The Hope for the Future Noel Award is presented to Colorado citizens who have made a difference in their community.

Noel events on campus and in the community are free and open to the public, and no RSVP is required. For more information visit


About Rachel B. Noel
The Rachel B. Noel Visiting Professorship was initiated in 1981 to honor the accomplishments of Rachel B. Noel, a prominent player in Denver’s civil rights movement, the first African-American elected to the Denver Public School board and the first African-American woman to serve in elective office in Colorado.


About Metropolitan State University of Denver
MSU Denver is the leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans and enrolls the highest number of students of color among the state’s four-year colleges. The University currently has 23,000 students and offers 55 majors and master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. It boasts more than 75,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.