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William English Kirwan

William English "Brit" Kirwan led the University of Maryland, College Park campus three times, first as acting chancellor in 1982, then again in 1988, and as president from 1989 to 1998.

Kirwan joined the university in 1964 as an assistant professor of mathematics. He rose through the faculty ranks as associate professor (1968-72), professor (1972-98) and chair of the Department of Mathematics (1977-81).

In 1981, he was appointed vice chancellor for academic affairs, College Park's chief academic post. As vice chancellor, Kirwan raised admission standards, increased the number of merit scholarships and graduate fellowships, and established an academic planning process.

During his tenure as president, Kirwan played a pivotal role in all the university's major initiatives, including an increased emphasis on undergraduate education; selective enhancement of academic programs; recruitment and retention of distinguished faculty; achievement of diversity goals for underrepresented minorities; and completion of the university's first capital campaign. Under his leadership, the university also undertook a major restructuring of its academic organization, moving from a divisional system to a more traditional system of colleges and schools. Subsequently, when the state's economic decline in the early 1990s forced a massive reduction in the university's budget, he oversaw a streamlining of the university's academic offerings through the elimination of a college, seven departments and 32 degree programs.

Kirwan left the University of Maryland in 1998 to accept the presidency of the Ohio State University, a position he held for four years, until his selection as chancellor of the University System of Maryland. He oversaw the state's public university system until 2015. The math building on campus is named in his honor. 

Gregory Geoffroy, 1998

About

The University of Maryland is the flagship campus of the state’s higher educational system and a top-ranked public research institution. We are a diverse community of 38,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 352,000 alumni, all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. And we are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus. 

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Academics

Spanning 12 schools and colleges, Maryland offers more than 200 degree-granting programs, many of them ranked among the best in the country. Our faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 60 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. And our students, who include the highest achievers in the state and nation, enjoy experiences unique to our location just outside the nation’s capital, including internships, research, and leadership and service opportunities.

Research and Innovation

The University of Maryland is one of the world’s premier research institutions. With our strategic location and scores of partnerships with government and businesses, UMD conducts groundbreaking research on some of the biggest challenges facing our global community, including cybersecurity and terrorism, bioengineering, public health equity, food safety and climate change. We strive to discover new knowledge and put it to work through innovation and entrepreneurship, advancing economic development and transforming lives. 

Arts

At the University of Maryland, the arts, the humanities and the sciences intersect to address important societal issues and shed new light on the human experience. Our vibrant campus arts community collaborates with local and national cultural organizations such as the Phillips Collection, Kennedy Center and Folger Shakespeare Library. Student and faculty artists, designers, historians, writers and performers are exploring new media, presenting new perspectives, investigating new techniques and engaging new audiences.

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Athletics

Home of the Terrapins, the University of Maryland has one of the nation’s most recognizable and successful athletics programs. More than 550 student-athletes compete each year in 19 intercollegiate sports—11 for women and eight for men. Since 2005 alone, Maryland has won 16 national championships, including NCAA titles in women’s basketball, men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse. Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 2014, UMD has won a combined 17 regular season and tournament championships. Fear the Turtle!

Student Life

The Terp experience extends beyond classrooms, labs and studios. It encompasses residence halls and dining halls, clubs and sports, fraternities and sororities, campus events and performances, and countless off-campus destinations. Maryland touts 800-plus student organizations, dozens of prestigious living and learning communities, and countless other ways to get involved. Students here can create a unique identity and grow as individuals, even as they’re part of a close-knit and diverse community. 

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Terps are bold, smart, curious and proud. We do good, in our communities and out in the world. We are fearless. And we are always looking to expand our ranks. Interested in becoming a University of Maryland student? This is where to start.

 

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