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Annual Meeting Keynote and Featured Speakers

 

Keynote Speakers 

Adam Braun

Adam Braun is a New York Times bestselling author and the Founder & CEO of MissionU. He was previously Founder & CEO of Pencils of Promise, the award-winning organization that has built nearly 400 schools around the world.

He has been featured as a speaker at The White House, the United Nations and the Clinton Global Initiative. He has also been named to Business Insider’s 40 Under 40, Wired Magazine‘s 50 People Who Are Changing the World, and was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s original ten Global Shapers.

Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling abroad as a college student he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who when asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “a pencil.”

This small request became the inspiration for Pencils of Promise, the organization Braun would leave Bain & Company several years later to start with just $25. Using his unique “for-purpose” approach, he led the organization through $30M of funds raised before focusing his efforts to reimagining the broken higher education system in the US through his new venture MissionU.

Braun graduated from Brown University and is now a frequent speaker at conferences, colleges and Fortune 500 companies. He avidly engages with his social media following of over 900,000 people and in 2015 he received the nation’s most prestigious award for public service, the Jefferson Award.

His book The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list and went on to become a #1 national bestseller.

 

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, has served as President of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992. His 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. He was named in 2012 by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

In 2008, he was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UMBC the nation’s #1 “Up and Coming” university for six years (2009-14). In 2015 and 2016, U.S. News ranked UMBC in the top five on a newly created list of the nation’s “most innovative” national universities. For the past eight years, U.S. News also consistently ranked UMBC among the nation’s leading institutions for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” 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, 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.

With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering, and advancing underrepresented minorities in these fields. The program is recognized as a national model, and based on program outcomes, Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds (Oxford University Press), focusing on parenting and high-achieving African American males and females in science. 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.

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.

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