UMBC: An Evolution

In the fall of 1981, the editorial staff of The Retriever, UMBC's student newspaper, celebrated UMBC's 15th year by printing a ten part essay series outlining the history and development of the school. This fall, 30 years later, I would like to share this early history with you in celebration of UMBC's 45th anniversary. Here is how then Editor in Chief John Markus described the essay series:

This week the Retriever begins, as a series, segments of a paper prepared by former Editor in Chief of the Retriever Jose Anderson and former feature page editor Lamar Turner. In the words of the authors, the paper is "a humble attempt to record some of the more important events in the history and development of UMBC." It is perhaps odd to speak of 16 years as a history. Most of the people who were instrumental in the founding and development of the UMBC campus are still alive, and many of them still work in politics or higher education. But the community here, students and University staff alike, has undergone radical changes in these 16 years. The campus sorely lacks traditions or a collective memory of the years of development. Although this series is limited in scope to several main issues, and in depth to official documents and press accounts, it hopefully will still provide new and interesting information about this campus.

An unedited. unabridged, footnoted copy of Anderson and Turner's paper UMBC: An Historical Investigation is available for examination at the Retriever offices.

As the early years become more distant we may forget some of the controversies, disagreements, and turning points that ultimately formed UMBC as the campus it is today. I hope that you enjoy this series and learn more about the founding years of our campus and our community here at UMBC. Click the essay headings below to view essay in full.



First in a series: A controversy before it was a school

"The University of Maryland Baltimore County was enmeshed in controversy before it was built."

Second in a series: Regents, State battle over site

"Since the beginning of the University of Maryland branch campus plan, the question of location had been a serious concern."

Third in a seies: Urban campus site shunned

"Mayor Theodore McKeldin's movement to have the new campus in the city had a major influence on the new school and that proposal deserves special attention."

Fourth in a series: UMBC opened its doors to 700

"In a Retriever article published September 19, 1966, Dr. Kuhn welcomed students, "Teamwork has marked the development of this new campus and we believe you will find it a contiguous part of campus life."

Fifth in a series: Protest marked Kuhn years

"At the end of the 1968 school year, Registrar Robert H. Turner released a limited amount of information on UMBC's student population."

Sixth in a series: Campus plans overlooked blacks

"Many persons believe a county site was selected for UMBC as opposed to a city site in order to cut down the number of Blacks interested in attending."

Seventh in a series: Lee hired to develop campus

"During the five years after September 17, 1971, UMBC encountered internal conflict that would reshape the school's purpose forever."

Eighth in a series: Lee emphasizes job training

"Calvin Lee's dynamics on education not only dealt with faculty, but also with curricula."

Ninth in a series: Leadership questioned as enrollment falters

"Fall of 1973 came and brought with it a problem UMBC had never faced before."

Last in a series: Lee years end amidst controversy

"Obviously, the possibility of Lee leaving UMBC for another job drew the criticism of his opponents."


Thank you to Chris McKinney, Editor in Chief for The Retriever Weekly, and Christopher Corbett, TRW's faculty advisor, for allowing Special Collections to re-purpose and re-print this series.


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