“Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski
Sometimes we never know just who will come into our lives and play a huge part in who we become. We are fortunate if we have family members and close friends who fulfill that role in our lives. Sometimes we even find that there are those who we meet at work or at school who impact us in ways we could never have anticipated.
Such a person is Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). In May 1992 he began his term as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Dr. Hrabowski gained a national reputation for his role in encouraging African American students toward fields where they were typically under-represented notably science, mathematics and engineering. Among his many awards and recognitions, in 2009 Time magazine named Dr. Hrabowski one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents and one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012. His impact on education and educators is astounding. If you have ever had the occasion to speak with him or hear him speak, you are forever changed.
The quote above is his signature quote at the end of almost every speech he gives. It challenges us to think would how we impact the world and people around us by reminding us that our thoughts, words, actions and habits are all connected – one leads to the other and at all times we need to be aware of that connectivity. Over the past almost 30 years, I have had the honor of calling him my colleague, boss, friend, mentor, confident, cheerleader and brother – and I am not alone. Even today, I flatter myself by thinking that no matter when I text or call him – he will respond within a day or two if not minutes – but he makes everyone feel that way. He is a mentor to many and inspires us all to do so much more than we ever thought we were capable of doing. I can only hope that in my own way I can inspire and encourage even a fraction of as many people as he has touched along the way and continues to do each and every day.