Selected Speeches

Founders Week Gala

Oct. 13, 2018
Hyatt Regency Baltimore

Good evening, everyone! We’re so grateful to Deborah Weiner for emceeing our Founders Gala tonight. Ms. Weiner just spoke so eloquently about her connection to UMB, through her father and her husband, through her life and work in this city and state.

And her remarks underscore something I say in the program you’ve got on your table tonight, that there’s scarcely a Marylander who hasn’t been touched—in some way—by the work we do here at UMB: by the professionals we graduate; by the research we conduct; by the technologies we invent; by the care, counsel, and service we provide.

And that’s why we’ve made tonight’s theme Taking Care of Maryland. Because we do.

You know, each year when I go before the legislature, I tell our lawmakers where their investment goes, how we use the money they give us to make Maryland better, its people healthier and happier, its laws more just, its communities more resilient. I tell them how we invest ourselves in solutions to the problems that threaten Maryland’s strength.

Think about this: 3.6 million Marylanders—six people in every 10—are burdened with chronic disease. UMB is Maryland’s #1 asset in supplying the workforce we need to care for the state’s citizens. And so we’re working to ensure that any student who makes the commitment to care for Maryland and her people will not be denied the opportunity for lack of money.

Or how about this? Last year, opioid overdoses killed 2,200 Marylanders—that’s more than five people every single day. So we’re bringing all seven schools together to end this epidemic of addiction … to tie together the science, policy, and practice that save lives—and kindle hope.

In Maryland’s largest city—right here in Baltimore—one child in every three lives in poverty, in circumstances I’d wager many of us can’t even imagine. Our Promise Heights Initiative just won a $30 million grant to prove to all of us that—in one neighborhood, in one city—you can end the cycle of poverty and trauma that’s held generations of children hostage.

In Maryland’s DC suburbs, human trafficking is sadly prevalent. It’s a horrific crime, robbing women, men, and children of their freedom, their safety, and their dignity. A new grant from the Governor’s Office will help us expand our SAFE Center to other high-need areas in Maryland so that more trafficking survivors can return to life in the light.

Every day, Maryland confronts steep challenges of science, justice, and social progress. And every day, Maryland looks to us—to UMB—for solutions. Those solutions are made in the crucible of our discovery.

Last year, UMB won a record-breaking—no, a record-shattering—$667 million in grants and contracts, all of it aimed at our singular goal: To improve the human condition. And so, yes, our ambitions are global. Because our scholarship cures disease and ends suffering around the world. And, yes, our efforts are local. Because every day, we’re in the community, knowing our city neighbors deserve—as much as anyone else—the benefit of what we’ve learned.

But we are Maryland. We take of our own—in every region, every county, every corner of the state. And you, in turn, take care of us.  We launched our Catalyst Campaign one year ago—at this very Gala. To share with you what the generosity of our donors has meant for UMB—and for Maryland—I’m honored to introduce our Catalyst co-chair Dr. Ellen Yankellow.


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