From the Berger Cookie-inspired cupcakes to the state flag on the program, there was no doubt that “Taking Care of Maryland” was the theme of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) 23rd annual Founders Week Gala on Oct. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor.
“There’s scarcely a Marylander who hasn’t been touched in some way by the work we do here at UMB,” said University President Jay A. Perman, MD, who hosted the Gala, attended by more than 500 UMB faculty, staff, students, and supporters. “By the professionals we graduate; by the research we conduct; by the technologies we invent; by the care, counsel, and service we provide.
“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. UMB is Maryland’s No. 1 asset in supplying the workforce we need to care for the state’s citizens.”
Speaking about combating chronic pain as well as the opioid crisis that killed 2,200 Marylanders last year, Perman added, “We’re bringing all seven of our schools together to end this epidemic of addiction, to tie together the science, policy, and practice that save lives — and kindle hope.”
Those are some of the Big Ideas being addressed by UMB’s multi-year $750 million Catalyst Campaign. Catalyst co-chair Ellen H. Yankellow, PharmD ’96, was happy to inform the crowd of supporters that the campaign, which was launched at the 2017 Gala, has surpassed $424 million in gifts and commitments for student scholarships, faculty excellence and research, and school-specific and community engagement endeavors.
“With the exceptional leadership of Dr. Perman and his team of excellent academic and administrative leaders, the University benefits from the interest and support of a growing number of alumni, friends, and benefactors who strive on behalf of a cause that is undeniably improving the human condition,” said Yankellow, president and CEO of Correct Rx Pharmacy Services, Inc. “We enthusiastically aim to take this extraordinary effort to lofty new levels of achievement and distinction.”
UMB has done much to “take care of Maryland.” For instance:
- 77 percent of UMB’s students are Marylanders
- UMB confers 53 percent of the professional doctorate degrees awarded each year in Maryland
- UMB creates 18,000 jobs in Maryland
- Every year, UMB’s people contribute 2 million hours in volunteer service to Marylanders
- Last year, UMB won a record-breaking $667.4 million in research grants and contracts, fueling Maryland’s knowledge economy
- Every year, UMB provides $40 million in uncompensated care to Maryland residents
- UMB has a $2.8 billion economic impact on Maryland
- UMB returns $13 to Maryland for every dollar of state support
After Perman, Yankellow, and emcee Deborah Weiner, anchor of WBAL-TV, had praised the University’s many achievements, UMB Foundation chair Harry C. Knipp, MD, FACR, presented the foundation’s Distinguished Service Award to Margaret “Meg” Woodside, MBA, MSW ’07, for her “extraordinary dedication and impactful service” to the School of Social Work.
The Gala is the signature event of Founders Week, which honors UMB’s proud 211-year history, marks the achievements of current faculty, staff, and students, and looks ahead to the innovations to come. This year’s top researcher, teacher, public servant, and entrepreneurs — who were honored after dinner — carry on that fine UMB tradition.
MARS teammates Thomas M. Scalea, MD, FACS, MCCM, Deborah M. Stein, MD, MPH, FACS, FCCM, and Steven I. Hanish, MD, FACS (School of Medicine and R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center) were named Entrepreneurs of the Year. Their innovative application of the Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS), considered a “dialysis machine for the liver,” has given new hope to acute liver failure sufferers, allowing time for spontaneous recovery or transplantation.
Karen L. Kotloff, MD, is UMB’s 2018 Researcher of the Year. Considered a leading authority in the world on human controlled infection models for shigellosis, a major cause of diarrhea mortality in children, Kotloff’s work with the School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health has saved the lives of countless children in the U.S. and developing countries.
A 30-plus-year UMB employee like Kotloff, Geoffrey L. Greif, PhD, MSW, was named Teacher of the Year. In addition to shaping the next generation as a challenging professor at the School of Social Work, Greif is a researcher, author of 14 books, and community organizer, counseling prison inmates, AIDS patients, and parent support groups.
Valli Meeks, DDS, MS, RDH, an alumna of the School of Dentistry who has worked there for 29 years, is UMB’s Public Servant of the Year. She not only opened (and still directs) the state’s first dental clinic for Marylanders with HIV/AIDS and no insurance but also led a collaboration that helped form the first school of dentistry in Rwanda.
After the awards presentation, the attendees enjoyed a dessert reception of Maryland-inspired treats and enjoyed the music of the Sounds Good! jazz ensemble.
— Chris Zang
Watch a video recap of the Gala.