Men’s Soccer Heads Toward National Championship

NCAA Mens Soccer: Hartford vs UMBCAt UMBC, we’re busy celebrating the men’s soccer team and their America East Championship win over Hartford. This sets the Retrievers on the road to the NCAA tournament–their fourth tournament bid in five years.

The team is truly a “Fan Favorite” and Retriever Fever is catching across campus, from the dedicated supporters of Lot 17 to faculty and staff. In fact, The Baltimore Sun  reported that at the end of the America East Championship game, “UMBC fans and students stormed the field and celebrated with the players at midfield.”

The men’s soccer team is in Wake Forest today for the first round of the NCAA tournament–along with a bus full of dedicated supporters–in hopes of continuing their winning streak.

Do you have Retriever Fever? Support the team on the road to victory!

A Community of Supporters: UMBC Thanks You!

UMBC thank youUMBC’s fiscal year ended on June 30, 2014. As we pause to reflect on accomplishments of last year, we’d like to thank the generous alumni, faculty, staff, family, and friends who make our great work possible. Because of Retriever Believers like you, our students have fantastic opportunities here at UMBC.

Throughout this fiscal year, our alumni – including 456 first-time donors – pulled together to give back $396,415, surpassing the goal for alumni by over $46,000. Parents of our students and alumni donated $143,521.02, and our wonderful faculty and staff contributed $81,399.46. Thanks to every gift, big and small, UMBC received $621,335.48, which is over $55,000 more than the fiscal year for 2013.

Thank you to all those who supported UMBC – we’re excited for the 2015 fiscal year. Go Retrievers!

Give back to UMBC today!

We love our donors!

we love our donorsIt’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air! For all of us here at UMBC, it’s a great day to tell you, our donors, how much we appreciate you and all that you do for UMBC.

When you give to the University, you make it possible for our students to get the highest quality education. You ensure that our faculty and staff have the resources to do amazing things. You invest in a place that strives for greatness. And though that investment means more to us than words can convey, we still want to say thank you. So we asked a few of our faculty and staff to say thank you to a donor who has made a difference to them:

“We’re so appreciative of the support that Ken Pittman ’80, economics, gives to our university. He is generous with his time through his service on our alumni board, and he and his family regularly contribute to several of our scholarship funds. His willingness to give back helps make UMBC a great place.”

~Stanyell Bruce, Director of Alumni Relations, UMBC

“We are so grateful for Next Century’s support of this software engineering course. Their gift helps students learn about the fundamentals of Software Engineering and the software development lifecycle. The students are getting a great opportunity to work with a ‘real-life’ application, developing a student alert system. Next Century personnel are acting as ‘customers’ for this project, which gives students valuable training in working with real customers. The students are also going to present their project in Next Century’s offices and will get an experience of actual office/industry setting.”

~Karuna Joshi, Research Assistant Professor, UMBC

“Through his work as a student caller with UMBC’s Phonathon, Jordan, class of 2014, has done exceptional work on behalf of UMBC and the Meyerhoff program. He has had hundreds of conversations with alumni and parents, helping to secure many gifts for the  LaMont Toliver Alumni Memorial Scholarship. This fall, Jordan himself made a contribution to the LaMont Toliver Alumni Memorial Scholarship. I was really impressed by his leadership as a student and donor. UMBC’s students often give back of their time and talent, but it’s more rare for students to part with their hard-earned paychecks. Jordan’s commitment to helping future generations of UMBC students excel was a really moving act that leaves a lasting legacy in Mr. Toliver’s name.”

~Dayna Carpenter, Director of Annual Giving

Check out UMBC’s Donor Roll, where we say thank you to everyone who has supported us each year.

A Lifetime of Giving Comes Full Circle

When she began her college search, the Honorable Wanda Keyes Heard ‘79, political science, knew very little about UMBC. But when she and her family — then living in Long Island, New York — returned from a visit to schools in the DC area, they decided to stop by the new university in Catonsville. That chance decision would change Wanda’s life.

“I fell in love with UMBC,” she says. That means a lot coming from Wanda, whose father Sterling Keyes, was a veteran educator and civil rights activist who impressed upon her from an early age the importance of education. And so she came to UMBC, where she would study political science and launch her career as a lawyer and then Baltimore Circuit Court judge.

WKH1When Wanda lost her father a year ago, she found herself making another decision about her future–the decision of what to do with her estate. In honor of her father’s legacy and her own experience at UMBC, she decided to establish a planned gift to the university.  “When you leave the earth, you can’t take it [money] with you,” she explains. “What better way is there to honor your life than to give back? I know UMBC will make good use of the money.”

Wanda’s decision isn’t surprising. Throughout her career as a judge for the Baltimore City Circuit Court, she has been paying it forward. She’s an avid supporter of UMBC’s Second Generation scholarship, and she’s also given students–many of them from her alma mater–the opportunity to gain invaluable career experience as interns in her office. It’s that kind of experience that rounds out an education and launches careers.

As Wanda is quick to tell you, UMBC was truly where her life and career got started. “I received an excellent education there, and that set me on the road to law school and being a judge,” she says. “Once UMBC has put its print on you, you can do anything you want to.”

In Wanda’s case, that print was indelible, and was made by her experiences both in and out of the classroom. Wanda was active in the Student Government Association, joined the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and worked as a Resident Assistant. Each and every one of those activities left a distinct mark on her, she says, and showed her the importance of getting involved with and contributing to her community. In fact, for Wanda, education, service and giving back are inextricably intertwined.

“If you went to UMBC, giving back comes naturally,” she says. And that dedication to service and giving will now come full circle. Through her planned gift to UMBC, Wanda is ensuring future generations will have the same amazing educational and career opportunities that she did.

Learn more about making a planned gift like Wanda’s.

UMBC Stands Out in the Crowd

bakesalepicStroll near The Commons on most weekdays and you’ll see tables piled high with tasty baked goods. The students at these tables are asking for help – spare change, really – to fund their clubs’ latest and greatest pursuits in a way that hasn’t changed much since the university opened in 1966.

But now these passionate student appeals are getting a boost from the power of the people . . . and the internet. UMBC recently unveiled a new crowdfunding website that allows students to harness their personal relationships to bring in support for their own projects on campus. The site – which focuses on university needs as well as student causes – gives students a way to easily use social media to publicize, track and aggregate philanthropic campaigns.

EWB-UMBC_111213“We are incredibly excited to work with student groups to help them understand the ins and outs of philanthropy through crowdfunding,” says Dayna Carpenter, UMBC’s director of annual giving. “Our students are very motivated to do good in this world, and this is an important element of their education.”

UMBC’s crowdfunding site already boasts colorful channels to help student causes. Visitors can help the SAE Mini Baja team get to their next competition, help the Down and Dirty Dawg Band produce their next CD, or even send students from Engineers Without Borders to Kenya to dig wells.

DawgBand112013“Without the help and support of things like our fundraising page, we wouldn’t be able to receive stipends, buy new equipment, pay for instrument repairs, or put out CDs,” says Drew Ballantine, a UMBC senior and member of the Down and Dirty Dawg Band. “These donations allow us to continuously grow by doing more things each year, like adding more performances or playing new music.”

Donors can also support university giving that directly benefits current students, including LGBTQ initiatives on campus or the Stay Black and Gold Fund for those who have emergency financial needs.

gritty“I love the crowdfunding model because it gives us the chance to give back to what we really care about,” says Chris Magaha ’03, information systems management. “And you can see exactly where the money is going to go.”

And that’s exactly why UMBC made the venture into crowdfunding. It gives students a chance to share their projects with the world and get the support they need, while donors can find projects they’re passionate about and see their gifts have an immediate impact.

“The crowdfunding site really is the best of all worlds,” says Dayna. “Even though it’s still new, people have responded very positively. We’re eager to see how this effort continues to grow.”

Check out our featured crowd funding initiatives.

A Bench of His Own

K-9727There’s a bench just outside UMBC’s Public Policy building. It’s a quiet, unassuming bench. But if you take a moment to read its engraved plaque, you’ll see there’s a story behind that bench — a story about a man named Jim Kruger.

Jim is a 2013 graduate of UMBC, but in many ways, he’s very different from his classmates. For starters, Jim’s a grandfather. He came to UMBC through Maryland’s Golden ID program, which helps people over 60 return to school to earn or complete a degree.

When he graduated from high school, Jim went straight to the Community College of Baltimore County. But, in the way that it does, life happened. Jim and his wife Kathy got married and had kids. As any parent knows, working and raising a family takes time and energy, and so Jim left school to devote himself to raising his beautiful family and running his own business. But as his kids got older and he moved into retirement, Jim had an idea.

“As I watched my daughters graduate [from college],” he says, “I realized, ‘I should do that, too.’”

He went back and finished his associate’s at CCBC, then decided he’d seize the chance to transfer to UMBC and earn his bachelor’s degree. He met with an admissions counselor and decided to study political science. He still remembers his very first class with Professor Laura Hussey. “She owned the classroom,” he recalls. “I was so impressed with her.”

Jim found that he loved being in the classroom. In particular, he enjoyed the wide range of perspectives and experiences that his classmates brought to the coursework. He found himself with a whole new group of friends and mentors.

Jim also got involved outside the classroom. “I took advantage of the full range of the UMBC experience,” he says. He and his wife regularly attend theatre productions and he likes to take his grandsons to basketball games. It’s no surprise how integral he became to the UMBC community.

When Jim walked across the stage to receive his diploma in May 2013, Kathy knew she wanted to commemorate the occasion with a meaningful gift. She settled on a bench, which would beautify the campus and give Jim a place to rest when he was walking between classes, since he had decided to continue on as a graduate student at UMBC.

“He’s enjoyed being here,” says Kathy. “To me, it was a nice connection.”

Jim, of course, loves the bench. “It’s the perfect gift,” he says. “That’s community–it makes people linger and talk.”

Learn more about how you can invest in UMBC.

Women’s Soccer Team Wins America East Championship!

On Saturday, November 9, the UMBC women’s soccer team made the Retriever family proud as they clinched the America East Championship with a 2-1 win over defending champion Stony Brook.

This is the first-ever tournament title for UMBC women’s soccer. It was also the biggest team turnaround in America East Conference history as they achieved a school record of 13 wins!

Read the press release or check out video highlights from the game.

Show your #UMBCgrit and celebrate our 2013 women’s soccer team and coaching staff with a gift to the women’s soccer team!