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Innovative Educator to Headline MTSU’s Retention Summit on Feb. 25

An educator hailed by Time Magazine as one of the “10 Best College Presidents” in the country will headline an upcoming Black History Month event at MTSU.

University of Maryland-Baltimore County President Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III will be a featured speaker at the Retention Summit, a discussion of how to stem college dropouts among African-Americans.

Hrabowski’s presentation is slated to begin at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25, in the second floor ballroom of the Student Union Building. The summit is free and open to the public.

Profiled last year on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” for his dedication to educational innovation, Hrabowski has been tapped by President Barack Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African-Americans.

In a recent interview on WMOT-FM’s “MTSU On the Record,” Black History Month Committee Chair Vincent Windrow said of Hrabowski, “His reputation precedes him … He has a nationwide … reputation for these outside-of-the box philosophies and methodologies relative to retention and other areas.”

Following a question-and-answer session with Hrabowski, Dr. Cynthia Calhoun, executive director of student retention and graduation at Southwest Tennessee Community College, will present a model for launching a college-wide student retention initiative with a focus on retaining black males.

At 2 p.m., the summit will conclude with a presentation by Dr. Karen Eley Sanders, associate vice president for academic support services at Virginia Tech. Sanders will offer practical and proven approaches to retention of students of color.

With the 2010 passage of the Complete College Tennessee Act by the state’s General Assembly, funding formulas for state-supported colleges and universities are now tied to retention and graduation rates.

MTSU recently announced that it granted more bachelor’s degrees and graduated more students for less money in 2011-12 than any other institution governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

However, according to Windrow, the black graduation rate at MTSU for 2004-10 was 39.9 percent, a figure Windrow says must be raised.

For more information, contact Windrow at 615-898-5812 or Vincent.Windrow@mtsu.edu.