This post has been updated.
Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, appears to be the only college president named to the Time magazine’s latest list of the world’s 100 most influential people.
Hrabowski unquestionably ranks among the five or 10 most important college presidents in the nation. In a two-decade tenure, he has elevated UMBC from commuter school to top-flight research university. He has also pretty much cornered the market on African American scholarship in science, technology, engineering and math.
There are other heroic university presidents and other up-and-coming schools. But Hrabowski’s UMBC has taught the likes of Harvard and Hopkins how to teach science, with its groundbreaking course redesigns in biology and chemistry that stress teamwork and interaction over the passive lecture.
“When you think of the top science universities in the U.S., schools like MIT and Caltech may jump to mind,” writes Andrew Rotherham in his Time essay on Hrabowski. “But perhaps the most envied science program in the country is at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.”
The rest of the list seems to alternate between gravitas and whimsy. It includes education innovator Salman Khan, Newark schools Superintendent Cami Anderson, roboticist Henrik Scharfe, MIT engineer Donald Sadoway, Swedish statistician Hans Rosling and Indiana economist Elinor Ostrom, MIT economist Andrew Lo and virologist Ron Fouchier, along with Supreme Court swing vote Anthony Kennedy, comedian Louis CK and talk-show host Chelsea Handler.