Richard ByrneWhat’s your UMBC story? And what part does your UMBC story play in the narrative of a pioneering university that is now 50 years old?

So much of what we have learned at UMBC Magazine over the seven years that we have been publishing has come from exploring both of those questions.

Sometimes it’s a profile of an alumna or an alumnus doing amazing things in their lives. It’s also the stories about the breakthroughs that our faculty make in – and across – disciplines, or their innovations in teaching that help UMBC students succeed in learning and growing as scholars and as people. And it’s also the tales of what our students past and present are doing as they bring their talents and perspectives back to the UMBC community.

In this issue, we are telling the stories of a group that has been less often in the spotlight: dedicated staff members who have helped shape the arc of UMBC’s success over the past 50 years. (See page 14.) We also have a terrific story by UMBC alumnus Joab Jackson ’90 about one of UMBC’s most innovative researchers, Govind Rao, and his quest to expand the borders of medicine and revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry. (See page 30.)

Over the past seven years, one of the things that I’ve come to realize as the editor of UMBC Magazine is that every little bit of that UMBC story counts. Sometimes we spend hours combing through the archives to find out just how a program got started, or how “True Grit” got his name. We spend a lot of time with the university’s visual history, too. Where did that sculpture go? When did that building come down? Who’s in this photograph from our archives?

As readers, you have been a major part of that effort as well. From the Class Notes you submit to refresh and renew your connection to the university, to the feedback you send us to help make the magazine better, or fill in a gap in a story. It all counts.

Our individual stories about our UMBC experience can be woven into a powerful collective narrative. That is why one of the key elements of our celebration of UMBC’s 50th year is a new digital space called “Retriever Stories.”

Retriever Stories is a place where you can tell us your UMBC story. Share a photograph. Reconnect with classmates.

It can be a story of the past. A professor who helped shape your time at UMBC. That memorable party. Your old UMBC student ID.

But it can be a story of the present, too. Who are you now? Where are you now? How did UMBC help you get there?

See pages 6 and 47 for more details about the “Retriever Stories” site. We invite you to show up and tell us your story.

— Richard Byrne ’86

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