WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama has named a University of Illinois alumnus and nationally known college administrator to chair the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, was named chair of the commission last week, according to a White House press release.
In that role he will advise Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the new White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, designed to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African-American students. The goal is to ensure they are fully prepared to complete high school and college and enjoy a productive career.
The commission will lead a national dialogue on African-American achievement from early childhood through adulthood, working with federal agencies, educators and philanthropic partners.
"The nation's future will depend heavily on the extent to which we educate all of our nation's children. This commission will work to ensure that increasing numbers of African Americans excel academically," Hrabowski said in a release.
Hrabowski received his master's degree in mathematics in 1971 and doctoral degree in higher education administration in 1975 from the UI's Urbana-Champaign campus. He also received the College of Education's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.
Hrabowski chaired a National Academy of Sciences committee that examined minority participation in the sciences. The committee concluded that, to remain competitive, the United States must significantly increase its investment in young people of all races interested in science, technology, engineering and math.
Hrabowski was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2012 by Time Magazine and one of the seven "Top American Leaders" in 2011 by The Washington Post and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.
He has been president at Maryland-Baltimore County since 1992, and also served as executive vice president and vice provost there. He previously held leadership and faculty positions at Coppin State College, now Coppin State University, from 1977 to 1987 and at the UI from 1974 to 1976, the release said.
He serves on the boards of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the France-Merrick Foundation and the Urban Institute, and is chair of the Marguerite Casey Foundation.
He earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the Hampton Institute, now Hampton University.