Honorary Degree Recipients:
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Ph.D. has served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. Hrabowski and UMBC were featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in 2011, attracting national attention for the campus’ achievements involving innovation and inclusive excellence.
Additionally, Hrabowski was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UMBC as the nation’s number one “Up and Coming” university over the past four years (2009-12). During this period, U.S. News also consistently ranked UMBC among the nation’s leading institutions for Best Undergraduate Teaching and tied in 2012 with Duke, Cal-Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and Notre Dame.
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, he 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, the Washington Post and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership named Hrabowski one of seven Top American Leaders for Public Leadership, and 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.
In 1988, Hrabowski co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program with philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff. Recognized as a national model, this program encourages high-achieving students to pursue advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering. Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and coauthored two books, “Beating the Odds” and “Overcoming the Odds” (Oxford University Press), which focus on parenting and high-achieving African- American males and females in science. Both books are based on the program’s outcomes.
In all that Hrabowski does, he marries the theoretical with the practical. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the 2011 report, “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads,” that argues for making minority participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education a national priority. In April 2013, Hrabowski was named by President Barack Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Some of Hrabowski’s other honors include being elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Philosophical Society; receiving the prestigious McGraw Prize in Education, the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, the Columbia University Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service, and the GE African American Forum ICON Lifetime Achievement Award; being named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) by the BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference, Educator of the Year by the World Affairs Council of Washington, DC, and Marylander of the Year by the editors of the Baltimore Sun; and being listed among Fast Company magazine’s first Fast 50 Champions of Innovation in business and technology, and receiving the Technology Council of Maryland’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
He also holds honorary degrees from more than 20 institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, and Duke Universities.
Harriet M. Murphy
Harriet M. Murphy is a retired municipal court judge with the city of Austin, where she also served as presiding judge. She served as chair of the Department of Government at Huston-Tillotson College for six years prior to being appointed a judge. Judge Murphy earned degrees from the University of Texas School of Law; a master’s degree from Clark-Atlanta University; completed further studies at University of Gratz, Austria, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and Columbia University; and earned a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College in 1949.
Judge Murphy has achieved a number of first during her life. She was the first African-American woman to be appointed officially as a judge in Texas. She is the first and only African-American woman to serve as Democratic Party elector for the State of Texas. She was also a founding member of the Austin Black Lawyers Association, the Travis County Women’s Lawyers Association, and the Austin Urban League. In 2007, she received the first Life Time Achievement Award from the Greater Austin YWCA.
In 2010, Judge Murphy’s peers in the legal community recognized her contributions by inducting her into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame. In addition to this honor, Judge Murphy has been recognized with numerous civic awards, including the first Thurgood Marshall Legal Society award and the Yellow Rose of Texas Award from the University of Texas.
In 2005, she was awarded the Judge Raymond Pace Alexander Award for Judicial Advocacy by the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association. Other honors include the Arthur B. DeWitty Civil Rights Award from the Austin Chapter of the NAACP; the Gertrude E. Rush Award from the National Bar Association, named after the only woman who helped to found the Association; and the Pioneer Award from the State Bar of Texas.
In addition to her service to the legal community, Judge Murphy is an active member of the Spelman College National Alumnae Association (NAASC), serving with enthusiasm and dedication. A life member of the NAASC, Judge Murphy served on the executive committee as member-at-large west from 2008 to 2012. In 1993, her service and dedication was recognized by her induction into the National Alumnae Association Hall of Fame.
Though most of Judge Murphy's distinguished contributions were made in her home state of Texas, her reputation extends beyond its borders. She served for two years on the United States State Department Council on African Affairs, during which time she participated in a data-finding commission to South Africa. Additionally, the Austin American Statesman Newspaper recognized Judge Murphy for her work supporting international humanitarian efforts.
Judge Murphy is married to Patrick H. Murphy, Jr. They have one son and six grandchildren.