Dr. Marilyn E. Demorest establishes new faculty advancement fund

Demorest-1957When Professor Emerita of Psychology Dr. Marilyn Demorest started teaching at UMBC in 1972, the university was six years old, and the psychology department had ten faculty members. As her career grew and developed, so did UMBC. By the time she retired in 2010, the school had exponentially increased in size, both in terms of enrollment and faculty hiring.

The latter was one of Demorest’s many responsibilities as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs from 1998 through her retirement. Her years of experience as both a professor and an administrator showed her the many challenges a university’s faculty may face. To that end, she’s created the Marilyn E. Demorest Faculty Advancement Fund, an endowment set up to support faculty members’ career development.

Dr. Patrice McDermott, current Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Dr. Demorest’s successor, says she’s not surprised that Dr. Demorest created an endowment related to faculty advancement. Demorest trained McDermott for the job. “Her devotion to faculty was well-known, and she instilled those values in me as well,” McDermott says.

As a professor, Dr. Demorest sat on several committees related to faculty promotion and tenure, and got a firsthand look at some key issues facing faculty members at such a young university. At that time, she explains, the university usually had to do more with less. Faculty often had to take on substantial service activities, which could hinder their research efforts.

She cites her work with Advance, the National Science Foundation’s initiative for women in STEM fields, as the biggest influence for her gift. Through that project, she says, “we saw how innovative programs” could be effective in advancing all faculty, not just women and not just STEM faculty.Demorest-1970

At a university as committed to innovation as UMBC, a faculty advancement grant like this one provides the resources for professors to mentor and connect with each other, and Dr. Shawn Bediako, the inaugural recipient of the award, is committed to those ideals.

As a previous recipient of an NIH career development grant, Dr. Bediako, an associate professor of psychology at UMBC, developed an interest in helping faculty define their professional and scholarly goals beyond just achieving tenure. He has also served as a mentor to junior faculty both at UMBC and at other institutions.

I am deeply honored to be the first recipient of this award. Dr. Demorest’s generous gift will provide an opportunity for me to collaborate with faculty colleagues across campus and find innovative ways to align our personal and professional goals with the institution’s vision,” he says. He is currently finalizing his plans for the award as the fall semester gets under way.

As the award is announced to the entire campus community, Dr. Demorest says the key word in the delivery is the “advancement” rather than “development” of faculty, and that the award will ideally expand beyond mentoring efforts. When faculty members can define and pursue their goals, whether in research or teaching, the entire university community will benefit.

“The notion is [one of] moving forward,” she says, and adds, “I’m looking forward to the fund growing over time and supporting even broader programs and initiatives.”

Learn more about how you can support UMBC!

Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition creates a new platform for student startups

CBIC-LogoGreg Cangialosi ‘96, English, has made a name for himself as a serial entrepreneur with a passion for helping others succeed.  Since he graduated from UMBC, he has gone on to run two companies, and made it a personal mission to turn Baltimore into a hub for startup companies. To help support that initiative, the MissionTix CEO and co-founder of the startup incubator Betamore gave a generous gift to UMBC to establish the Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition.

The CBIC launched last year through the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship to give undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to develop and present their business plans, and get a head start on establishing their companies. The first competition was held in the spring of 2014.

“His spirit is all about entrepreneurism,” says Susie Lynch, a development officer at UMBC. “[He’s] passionate about others’ success…[and] having a thriving startup community in Baltimore.”

Cangialosi had been involved with the Alex. Brown Center for some time before the competition began, according to the Center’s director, Vivian Armor. Among other initiatives, he was a featured speaker for the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, developed and taught UMBC’s Entrepreneurial Marketing course, and served as a judge for the university’s annual Idea Competition, upon which the CBIC is based and which still runs every fall.

“As a result of his long term involvement with the Center, [Cangialosi] realized there was a need to provide the next level of competition and support for students who were serious about starting a business,” says Armor. The CBIC, she explains, was intended to connect students with the larger Baltimore business community.

To enter the competition, students submit their business plans to a panel of qualified experts. Those selected for the next round are paired with a mentor to help them fine-tune their ideas, and in the final round, they present their fully-formed startup plans to a panel of community business leaders and investors. In addition to a cash prize of up to $5,000 for seed funding, competition winners receive free Betamore membership, as well as free legal services, accounting advice, and fundraising and pitch advice.

Andrew Mavronicolas ‘14, information systems, is one such beneficiary. He was one of 10 finalists in last year’s inaugural competition, and his company, Backpack ‘Em, is now located in UMBC’s Cyberhive incubator. The company provides a platform for an intra-campus marketplace, its most popular use being textbook selling and trading. Mavronicolas says the support he received during and after the competition was invaluable in helping him get his business off the ground.

“The greatest gain that we had from the competition was easily the insights given by judges [and] investors, our mentor, students, and the university. This allowed us to improve upon our business idea by expanding our revenue models. It also helped us to perfect our pitch and gain the confidence to go meet with university decision makers and investors,” he says.

According to Armor, the competition will continue every spring semester, and has been a boon to the Brown Center’s visibility on campus. “[…Now] more students are aware of the wide range of initiatives and programming the Center makes available,” she says.

Lynch says Cangialosi is personified by his Twitter hashtag of choice: #neverstop. “That’s him in a nutshell,” she says. As the CBIC enters its third year, one hopes that that tenacious entrepreneurial spirit will be fostered within and passed onto several generations of students.

Cross-posted from the UMBC Alumni Blog.

Meet the Staff: Marie Lilly

Here in the Office of Institutional Advancement, we are always working hard to support the university and connect our donors with causes they care most about. We would like to introduce our donors — to whom we are so grateful — to the people who help make those things happen. Today, we’ll be hearing from Marie Lilly, the Associate Director of Foundation Relations.

Marie LillyName: Marie Lilly

Job Title: Associate Director of Foundation Relations

Focus Area: My job is to help build relationships with foundations, with goal of raising money to benefit UMBC students and programs. I work with faculty and staff to identify projects and potential funding sources as well as preparing and submitting proposals.  I work with deans, VPs, and other members of the OIA team to cultivate new foundations with missions that align with UMBC’s work and I help manage relationships with foundations that currently support the university.

Years at UMBC: 1 year


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I am originally from a farm about 20 minutes outside of Frederick, MD

Q: What do you love most about UMBC?

A: I love how much everyone here embraces diversity. I love that the students embrace their geekiness; the staff make it a mission to do things in innovative ways; and the administration prioritizes attracting and retaining diverse students. This is what originally attracted me to UMBC, having done social justice work for almost 10 years.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job?

A: I really appreciate how many different projects I get to work on and the bird’s-eye view I get of the incredible work happening across campus. I get to work with faculty to find funding for their research, ask foundations to support students scholarships, and work with corporations to build partnerships with the university – in fact, I often work on all of these things and more in one day!

Q: Why do you think it’s important to support UMBC?

A: I am first and foremost a huge proponent of public universities. A college education is one of the most important paths out of poverty for disadvantaged families and public universities make that education affordable and accessible. In addition to accessibility, UMBC is helping students from all background succeed in careers with tremendous potential for growth and innovation, like cybersecurity and other STEM fields.  I think this is a winning combination that can truly change the lives of our students and their families. Philanthropic support helps make UMBC more accessible and allows us to help even more students!

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: OMG – Pho. I love Pho. AND there are at least three amazing Pho places in Catonsville!

Q: When you were a child, what/who did you aspire to be?

A: I wanted to be a rock star. Or a movie star. And a spy.

Lipitz Professor Named

shari-waldsteinShari Waldstein, professor of psychology, has been named the Lipitz Professor for 2015-2016. This professorship is supported by an endowment created by Roger C. Lipitz and the Lipitz Family Foundation “to recognize and support innovative and distinguished teaching and research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.”

A clinical psychologist who specializes in cardiovascular behavioral medicine and medical neuropsychology, Dr. Waldstein is known internationally for fundamental contributions to the understanding of the links among early, multi-level risk factors for cardiovascular disease, sub-clinical brain pathology, neurocognitive performance, and their development across the lifespan. In recent years she has increasingly focused on identifying the multi-level mechanisms underlying race and socioeconomic status-related disparities in cardiovascular and brain health.

Since coming to UMBC, she has been awarded more than $6,000,000 in grants and contracts. Dr. Waldstein’s contributions to the profession of psychology are numerous. She has served for 18 years as director of the behavioral medicine track in our human services psychology Ph.D. program and has mentored 22 Ph.D. students. She also works closely with colleagues at UMB, where she holds a secondary faculty appointment as professor of medicine.

Read more about Dr. Waldstein’s work. 

Thank you for supporting UMBC!

phonathon thank youOn behalf of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, we’d like to say thank you to all those who supported us in throughout the last fiscal year! Your contribution goes a long way in funding the #1 up-and-coming national university in the United States.

Last year’s contributions made a big difference in funding some new and exciting developments on campus, including the grand opening of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building and the men’s soccer team’s journey to the NCAA tournament. Your gifts also provided support for student scholarship funds, new equipment and curricula to academic departments, grants for undergraduate research…the list goes on.

We are very lucky to have a network of donors so committed to UMBC’s message of innovation and engagement. Thank you again for your continued support!

Don’t be late for this very important date!

3 Days Left


The countdown has begun. You only have 3 days left to make a difference! June 30th marks the end of our fiscal year; it’s the day we close the books and start planning and allocating funds for the next year. UMBC’s talented students and world-class faculty and staff need your support. Your gift can provide funding for scholarships, technology upgrades, research initiatives, library resources, athletics, student activities, and so much more. Your gift will change lives.

Be the difference in the lives of so many future innovators.

If you’ve already made your gift, thank you!

Building Our Collection


Suzanne Schlenger poses with a few volumes from her collection.

If a university and its people are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, there is perhaps nowhere on campus that more embodies that mission than the library. That is surely true here on UMBC’s campus. Much more than books on shelves, the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery is an engine for discovery, providing our students and faculty with the resources and support they need on their academic journey.

This year, those resources grew thanks to Suzanne Schlenger. A member of the Friends of the Library since 2001, she recently established the Suzanne Schlenger Endowment for a Collection of American Women in Literature and donated a substantial set of books that will form the basis for this new collection.

The volumes, which now reside in UMBC’s Special Collections, include many works by Willa Cather and Edith Wharton, as well as a limited edition of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. The collection was built over many years, as Mrs. Schlenger and her late husband, Jack Schlenger, a lawyer and friend of Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, travelled the world looking for works by their favorite authors. Continue reading

What is the power of $10?


It’s that time of year again…the fiscal year, that is! And we’d like your help in meeting our giving goals for the end of it. For just $10 each month, you can help us maintain UMBC’s status as a hub for research, innovation, and undergraduate teaching:

  • For the cost of a movie ticket, you could help send a student to an out-of-state research conference.
  • For the cost of two soy lattes, you could contribute to one of our many need- and merit-based scholarship funds for undergraduates.
  • For the cost of half a tank of gas, you could help update our classrooms with state-of-the-art equipment.
  • For the cost of a dozen donuts, you could help fund undergraduate research grants and student initiatives.

Please consider donating by June 30, because even the smallest gift can be so powerful. Here’s how you can give today:

  • BY CHECK: Please make checks payable to the UMBC Foundation and mail to UMBC Foundation, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250

Thank you in advance for your contribution!

Help Biological Sciences Grow!

Editor’s note: Here at UMBC, our students are the heartbeat of campus, and we are committed to providing them the best possible education. We’re highlighting our amazing academic departments, some of their recent achievements, and ways that you can help fund their continued excellence.

Your gift is extremely important and many of our students are depending on you. Please show your support and make an impact today. With you we can make a difference.

Biological SciencesThe Department of Biological Sciences is proud to announce that they were able to continue to impact students last year by providing an exceptional education. This year the department hopes to continue with their impact on students.

Your financial support will help award scholarships, sponsor internships, and provide state-of-the-art equipment for our students.

Support the Department of Biological Sciences!