The Keynote Speaker at the Franklin Center's 2014 Symposium on Reconciliation: Dr. Freeman Hrabowski
Tulsa's John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation will present its 2014 National Symposium on Reconciliation in America on May 29th and 30th here in our city; the theme for this 5th annual symposium is "Education for Reconciliation." (You can learn more about this upcoming event here.) On today's installment of ST, we speak with the keynote speaker for that symposium, Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, who has been president of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992. Dr. Hrabowski is a nationally recognized expert on STEM education, especially as its relates to minority participation and/or performance at the collegiate level or higher. ("STEM" is, by the way, a common acronym for the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.) Dr. Hrabowski chaired the National Academies' Committee that produced the recent report, "Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads," and he was also was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. His awards and accolades are many and varied --- and his passion for STEM education is unmistakable --- and at the root of it all, you might say, Dr. Hrabowski is a man who's been a brilliant and supremely dedicated math teacher for some 40 years now. As such, he seems a very apt choice to deliver the keynote address at this year's Franklin Center Symposium, which is summarized like so at the Franklin Center's website: "The act of reconciliation requires us to change from a past way of doing or being, to recognize that shift, and acknowledge the change so others may know it has occurred. Put another way, reconciliation requires us to go forward. National and local events show us that race-based differences of understanding and interpretation are rampant. Indeed, any difference (race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, or language) may be cause for misunderstanding and intolerance. The theme for the 2014 Symposium on Reconciliation in America --- 'Education for Reconciliation' --- calls us to explore the learning and experiences needed to shift our national mindset toward understanding and appreciation."