Togetherness Reigns During UMB Founders Week

[The University of Maryland, Baltimore] Togetherness Reigns During UMB Founders Week

   |   By Lou Cortina

After 2½ years of hosting mostly virtual events, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) observed Founders Week with a series of in-person celebrations Oct. 24-27, including the Staff Luncheon returning to Westminster Hall and the Student Cookout returning to the School of Nursing Courtyard, both for the first time since 2019.

UMB staff members enjoyed salad, sandwiches, and desserts during the Founders Week Staff Luncheon on Oct. 24 at Westminster Hall.

To close out Founders Week on Oct. 27, President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, greeted students while UMB deans and vice presidents served food to more than 600 at the Student Cookout. Attendees enjoyed beef brisket, barbecue chicken, hot dogs, veggie burgers, potato chips, macaroni salad, cookies, and beverages on a sunny but chilly day.

Erin Foster, a first-year student at the School of Medicine, was excited about the cookout as she waited patiently in line along West Lombard Street, noting that such in-person events signal a return to normalcy after two-plus years of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions to everyone’s lives.

“We’re students, so we’re not living large in terms of money, so it’s nice to get some free food and come together, too,” she said. “For us, this is like a community event. A lot of us feel that virtual events only get you halfway there in terms of building a sense of community among your class, so doing things in person is definitely the way to go.”

Fellow first-year medical student Alexander Noonan-Shueh echoed those thoughts. “Doing in-person school and going to in-person events makes it seem like things are back to normal,” he said. “It’s also nice to meet all these lovely people from UMB and students from my class and other schools. This is a great idea to get everyone together.”

Togetherness also was the theme Oct. 24 at the Staff Luncheon, which was attended by more than 600 UMB staff members at Westminster Hall. The popular annual event was canceled in 2020 because of pandemic restrictions. In 2021, to maintain physical distancing, the event featured grab-and-go food boxes for staffers to pick up outside Health Sciences Research Facility (HSRF) III.

This year’s luncheon was a festive occasion, with UMB vice presidents serving hors d’oeuvres to staff members who had waited in line along West Fayette and Greene streets and Jarrell greeting them before they stepped into the historic venue. Other staff members manned the buffet tables, which featured turkey-and-cheese wraps; panzanella, egg salad, and Reuben sandwiches; and salad, potato chips, desserts, and beverages.

Staff Senate president Greg Brightbill, MBA, MEd, and vice president Jill Hamilton, MSW, greeted staffers at the event, thanking them for their dedication to UMB and handing out Staff Senate-branded hand sanitizers.

“Greg and I were thrilled to see so many staff members outside of the ‘Zoom box’ participating in the Staff Luncheon,” Hamilton said. “It was lovely to greet and catch up with so many of our dedicated and hardworking staff.”

Jarrell addressed the attendees during the event, saying, “It’s so good to be back in person for this wonderful lunch and to see so many familiar faces back on campus. Thank you for being here, and we appreciate all the hard work you do for UMB.”

The Award Winners Are …

After careful consideration by UMB leadership, the annual Founders Week Gala was not held this year, but the Founders Week award winners are scheduled to be honored in person when Jarrell delivers his State of the University address Nov. 9 at the Hippodrome Theatre. The award winners are:

Public Servant of the Year: Yolanda Ogbolu, PhD, CRNP-Neonatal, FNAP, FAAN, School of Nursing Educator of the Year: Richard Boldt, JD, Francis King Carey School of Law Researcher of the Year: Man-Kyo Chung, DMD, PhD, School of Dentistry David J. Ramsay Entrepreneur of the Year: Allan Doctor, MD, School of Medicine Student of the Year: Aishwarya Iyer, School of Medicine and Graduate School

The UMB Catalysts for Excellence also will be recognized at the Nov. 9 event. The awardees, who exemplify powerful advocacy for success, achievement, and philanthropy for their respective schools while serving as visionaries for future progress, are:

Karen J. Ivers, DDS ’88, School of Dentistry Brian J. Gibbons, JD ’87, Francis King Carey School of Law Maurice N. Reid, MD ’99, School of Medicine Marjorie “Marge” Bergemann, School of Nursing John Gregory, BSP ’76, School of Pharmacy David Brainerd, MSW ’79, School of Social Work Albert Struck, PA-C, Graduate School

The UMB Foundation gave its 2022 Distinguished Service Award to William E. Conway and Joanne Barkett Conway, who are highly acclaimed philanthropists and benefactors for nursing education and the School of Nursing. The honor recognizes the outstanding achievements of a volunteer or team of volunteers who have substantially contributed to enhancing and sustaining UMB’s fundraising performance.

In December 2020, the Conways pledged $13.83 million to the school — the largest philanthropic gift in its history. The pledge funded much-needed renovations for the nursing building at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md., and is providing full scholarships to 345 nursing students across all of the school’s degree programs.

(Read about all of the Founders Week award winners at this link.)

Powerful Presentations

On back-to-back days, Doctor and Chung discussed their work, with the David J. Ramsay Entrepreneur of the Year presentation Oct. 24 at HSRF II and the Researcher of the Year presentation Oct. 25 at the School of Dentistry Auditorium, both attracting about 100 attendees in person and 35 online.

Doctor, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and co-director of the Center for Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis at the School of Medicine, spoke about his research on artificial red blood cells and the company he co-founded, KaloCyte, Inc., in his presentation, “Surmounting Challenges to Therapeutic Development with Bio-Inspired Design and Team Science.”

Jarrell, who could not attend because of another commitment, praised Doctor in his videotaped remarks to open the event, noting that the award is named after one of his predecessors as UMB leader, the late David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil.

“Dr. Ramsay was a fierce advocate for entrepreneurism and the force behind the creation of the UMB BioPark. His creativity and persistence live even today on this campus through this award,” Jarrell said. “Dr. Doctor, this is a great accomplishment. Since the day you walked into UMB, your presence has been felt, your deep research has been appreciated, and your commitment to entrepreneurialism is always palpable.”

(Watch Doctor’s presentation at this link.)

Chung, a professor in the Department of Neural and Pain Sciences and assistant dean of research and graduate studies at the School of Dentistry, as well as co-director of UMB’s Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research, talked about studying treatments for oral and craniofacial pain and periodontitis in his presentation, “Trigeminal Nociceptors: Neural Intersection of Chronic Pain and Alveolar Bone Remodeling.”

Chung was introduced by Jarrell and UMSOD Chief of Staff David George, DDS, MBA, FAGD, who called the award winner “a dentist-scientist who has dedicated his career to studying the neurobiological mechanisms of craniofacial pain, focusing on the roles of trigeminal nociceptors.”

He noted that Chung’s recent interest in neuroregulation of alveolar bone remodeling has been recognized by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research with an eight-year, $8 million R35 award.

(Watch Chung’s presentation at this link.)

Jen Badie contributed to this article.