The President's Message

President's Message, Bruce Jarrell

Each month, The President’s Message updates the UMB community on University initiatives; spotlights faculty, staff, and student achievements; and promotes upcoming UMB events.

A Season of Celebration

June 2020

We did not get to see our graduates in caps and gowns this year, processing into Royal Farms Arena for our Universitywide commencement, celebrating at Party in the Park, or gathering one last time for their individual school’s convocation. We did not get to hood our graduates, or shake their hands, or give big post-commencement hugs. The Class of 2020 graduated, unfortunately, without the pomp and circumstance that they absolutely deserved. Nevertheless, circumstances do not define us, they lead us to decide what happens next.

You all know the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) mission: To improve the human condition and serve the public good of Maryland and society at-large through education, research, clinical care, and service. This year, perhaps more than any other in recent history, that mission has increased importance. As a University, community, city, country, and world, we are all facing cancellations — schools, jobs, religious services, sports — but we do so for the greater good. Staying home and staying safe from the COVID-19 pandemic is the best way we can celebrate these accomplished scholars who have dedicated years of study to be ready to serve the public good.

Many of our graduates, however, are not working from home. They are treating patients in hospitals, conducting research in labs — even volunteering to be human subjects for vaccine trials. In difficult times, Mister Rogers instructed preschoolers to “look for the helpers.” Because our professional schools and Graduate School confer the majority of health care, human services, and law professional degrees in Maryland each year, UMB continues to supply a steady stream of people committed to serve and ready to be those helpers.

I know that you feel the same pride that I do in the faculty, staff, alumni, and students of UMB. Therefore, while this year’s graduates did not walk across the stage, we can rest assured that they are walking the walk — stepping into the challenges of today, preparing for our future. We will remember the Class of 2020 not because it missed out on the pomp and circumstance, but for leading despite circumstances, for facing abrupt change and choosing to help. UMB’s faculty, staff, alumni, community, families, and the state of Maryland are proud of our graduates.

I want to say thank you to everyone who innovated and creatively celebrated this year’s class through virtual ceremonies or celebrations and congratulatory messages. You can see video messages, the student remarker’s speech, and learn more about how others celebrated by visiting UMB’s commencement website.

My very best wishes to UMB’s Class of 2020. It will be a year to remember!


Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS
Interim President