The Ceremony

On May 20, 2017 at 10 a.m. the University of New England will award more than 1,800 bachelor's, master's and doctorates in osteopathic medicine, dental medicine, pharmacy, health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, human services, education, management and the liberal arts during its 182nd Commencement Ceremony at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine.

Commencement Speaker

Minorities in education scholar, author and advisor Freeman Hrabowski, UMBC president, to serve as UNE’s Commencement speaker

Freeman Hrabowski

The University of New England is pleased to announce that this year’s Commencement speaker will be Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and former chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans under the Obama administration. The ceremony will be held on May 20 at 10 a.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

The president of UMBC since 1992, Hrabowksi’s 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.

In 2008, Hrabowski was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UMBC the nation’s number one “Up and Coming” university for six years (2009-14). TIME magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents in 2009 and one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012. 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 highest awards among higher education leaders. Also in 2011, he was named one of seven Top American Leaders by The Washington Post and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. 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. Previously he served on the boards of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Maryland Humanities Council (member and chair).

Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds (Oxford University Press), which focus on raising African American males and females, respectively, who are high achievers in science and mathematics. 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 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, on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

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

The University of New England is Maine’s largest private university, an innovative educational community with two distinctive coastal Maine campuses, a vibrant new campus in Tangier, Morocco, and a robust offering of degree and certificate programs online. UNE is home to Maine's only medical and dental schools—part of a comprehensive health education mission built on a pioneering interprofessional approach that includes pharmacy, nursing and an array of allied health professions.


Honorary Degree Recipient

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Ph.D.

Dr. Hrabowski, UNE's 2017 Commencement speaker, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.