Brit Kirwan Retirementby Representative C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Posted on 2015-12-09
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Mr. RUPPERSBERGER. Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise to
congratulate William ``Brit'' Kirwan on the occasion of his retirement
after 12 years as chancellor of the University System of Maryland.
As a Terp myself, I have always taken a deep interest in the leadership of the university system and have come to admire Brit's integrity, professionalism and expertise.
Not only is Brit respected academically, he has a great personality and he understands the importance of relationships with elected leaders. His political savvy has helped the university system become a critical economic and workforce development engine in the State of Maryland.
Brit has become a sought-after mentor to other university leaders in areas including college affordability--especially for minority and low- income students--as well as cost containment, innovation in the classroom and diversity.
I truly believe that Brit's vision has helped the University System of Maryland become one of the best in the nation.
Under his leadership, the university system has: become more affordable. The average tuition for undergraduate in-state students at university institutions, once the nation's seventh highest, has now dropped to twenty-sixth.
His leadership has strengthened need-based financial aid.
It has reduced the student achievement gap and even eliminated it on some campuses.
It has strengthened Maryland's competitiveness through the research and entrepreneurial efforts of faculty, staff and students.
It has developed the landmark ``Effectiveness and Efficiency initiative,'' which has improved quality while saving more than $460 million to date and has even been cited by President Obama as a national model.
It has made the university system a national leader in environmental sustainability.
It has improved college completion rates, especially among low-income and minority students.
Brit has also become known for his use of technology to rejuvenate traditional learning methods like the lecture hall. His efforts have increased the number of students showing up for class, eager to learn, while saving money and raising grades.
Let's not forget that Brit spent a quarter century as an educator and administrator prior to becoming Chancellor. Throughout each stage of his career--math professor, administrator, university president, and chancellor--Brit has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and access for all.
Brit's expertise benefits colleges around the country as a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. He chairs the College Board's Commission on Access, Admissions, and Success in Higher Education; and is a member of the Business-Higher Education Forum.
He was also appointed by President George W. Bush to the Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In 2010, he was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on accreditation issues and certification processes for colleges and universities.
Locally, Brit is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, and the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education.
He is the well-deserved recipient of too many awards and accolades to list in their entirety, but they include the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, which is considered one of the nation's top higher education honors.
In 2009, he received the Carnegie Corporation Leadership Award, which included a $500,000 grant to fund University System of Maryland academic priorities.
I consider him a personal friend. He is a true gentlemen and each of his day-to-day interactions are marked with civility and graciousness. This is a rare quality in today's world.
He leaves big shoes to fill.
I congratulate him on a spectacular career that has spanned more than a half-century and wish him many more years of happiness with his wife and family in his retirement.