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University of Maryland Solidifies Commitment to International Students

July 14, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Following the announcement of new federal regulations earlier this month to deny international students taking online-only classes residency in the United States, the University of Maryland is executing a multi-faceted approach to provide support and pursue legal action on behalf of its international students. 

In a letter released by the University System of Maryland (USM) on July 13, 2020, it was announced that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh will represent the State of Maryland and the USM as a plaintiff in a multi-state lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and that every USM institution, including UMD, is working with its international students to ensure they can remain enrolled and compliant with ICE guidance. 

President Darryll J. Pines is working closely with the Maryland Congressional delegation and national higher education associations to pass a legislative fix to protect the immigration status of the campus community’s international students for the upcoming fall academic semester. Continued support from the university additionally includes working closely with the office of the Maryland Attorney General, implementing academic solutions for in-person opportunities and collaborating with its Big Ten university peers to provide a safe, inclusive and enriching environment for its students.

More information on how the university is currently planning to handle academic instruction can be found here. To read the statement released by the University System of Maryland regarding the lawsuit, please visit their website.

Commission Reaffirms UMD’s Accreditation

July 8, 2020

Natifia Mullings  301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has reaffirmed the University of Maryland’s accreditation, following a nearly yearlong review.

In a July 1 letter to university President Darryll J. Pines, commission President Heather F. Perfetti stated that as a result of its virtual visit to campus this spring, it found that the university is now in compliance with Standard VII (Governance, Leadership and Administration). It said the university had made corrective measures and showed evidence of a clearly articulated and transparent governance structure that outlines roles, responsibilities and accountability for decision-making by UMD, the University System of Maryland and the Board of Regents.

The next evaluation is scheduled for 2025-26.

Announcing the Thomas V. Miller, Jr. Administration Building

June 29, 2020

The University of Maryland's Main Administration building will soon bear the name of Maryland Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., the longest-serving state senate president in the history of the United States and a visionary leader and tireless advocate for the university.

University of Maryland Named No. 1 College in U.S. For LGBTQ+ Students

June 18, 2020

Hafsa Siddiqi 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland was named the No. 1 college in the nation for LGBTQ+ students, according to rankings released this week by Campus Pride and BestColleges.

The annual state and national rankings, announced during LGBTQ Pride Month, weigh inclusivity, academic support and affordability to determine which colleges provide the best support for LGBTQ+ students. Maryland moved to the top spot from No. 5 last year.

"This recognition validates our intersectional and collaborative approach to supporting LGBTQ+ students," said Luke Jensen, director of UMD’s LGBT Equity Center. "It is an honor—and a welcome challenge to maintain and improve our leadership in LGBTQ+ campus inclusion as we face broad collective challenges related to health and social justice."

The center supports students, faculty, staff and alumni of all sexual orientations and gender identities through educational and outreach events as well as resources for LGBTQ+ people.

Most recently, staff in the center have focused on ensuring full implementation of campus policies, including those on inclusive language for university communications, students’ personal data in university databases and all-gender restroom availability around campus.

Other center programs include Quelcome, a social and networking event at the beginning of the academic year; Q Camp, a community-building retreat; the Lavender Leadership Honor Society for advocates of LGBTQ+ rights—the first of its kind in higher education; and the traditional Lavender Graduation.

The ranking recognizes efforts far beyond the work of the LGBT Equity Center. For example, over a dozen campus units have named liaisons to LGBTQ+ communities. These liaisons conduct outreach and work with colleagues in their units to promote good practices in service of LGBTQ+ people.

The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students ranking recognizes U.S. schools that have established the highest standards for inclusive environments while maintaining strong academic programs. (Others in the top five nationwide are the University of Washington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University and Tufts.) The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State offers a guide for prospective LGBTQ+ students to identify schools that are culturally inclusive, affordable and closer to their geographic location.

“Every student deserves to go to a college that is inclusive and a safe space to learn, live and grow,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “This June for Pride Month we want to show our ‘campus pride’ for all the campuses working hard to create safer, more LGBTQ-friendly learning environments.”

The rankings combine BestColleges’ traditional methodology of academic support and affordability data along with the Campus Pride Index score, which considers eight LGBTQ+ inclusive factors. The rankings also include descriptions of unique campus resources that provide support to students of various gender and sexual identities.

“We commend all the universities listed on these LGBTQ+ rankings for creating educational environments that allow students of different gender and sexual identities to feel safe and welcome,” said Stephanie Snider, general manager of BestColleges.

To view the full ranking list, please visit this link

UMD Leads $10M USDA Project to SustainCorn Belt Agricultural Production

June 18, 2020

Abby Robinson 301-405-5845

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland researchers will lead a five-year, $10 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to help farmers in the Corn Belt navigate efficient water and nutrient use in order to increase crop production.

The researchers plan to develop a Dashboard for Agricultural Water use and Nutrient management (DAWN) that will help maximize corn, soybean and bioenergy crop production in the Midwestern United States. They expect DAWN to identify innovative ways of increasing land- and water-use efficiency given competing resource demands and varying water availability and quality.

“Our goal is to create a predictive tool that translates complex system science into reliable, usable information for agricultural decision-makers so that they can optimize pre-season, in-season and longer-term practices,” said the project’s lead investigator Xin-Zhong Liang, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD with a joint appointment in the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “To do this, we have to link local land-use and water-use practices to large-scale feedbacks and deliver that information effectively to stakeholders.”

Routine decisions such as crop choice, fertilizer use, irrigation scheduling and reservoir operations can have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on water availability, nutrient loss, agricultural production and sustainability. The changing climate and enhanced extremes also threaten production—rainfed crops are vulnerable to droughts, heat stress raises water demand, and floods threaten crop growth and water quality.

“We will build models and decision support tools that represent the complex interactions among agriculture, climate, land and water use, and economic and environmental impacts,” Liang said. “If we can find ways to increase agricultural productivity and reduce input costs and losses due to environmental and biological stresses, and thus increase profitability, this project will be a success.”

According to Liang, current decision support tools evaluate only conditions and tradeoffs at individual points and fail to capture larger system feedbacks. DAWN will include data from large-enough scales to capture feedbacks across different regions, times and sectors.

The project team includes researchers, extension specialists, educators and stakeholders. Partners in the project include researchers at Colorado State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska and FamilyFarms Group. 

DAWN will be designed collaboratively with end-users to provide short-term forecasts for real-time decision-making, seasonal outlooks for mid-range planning, and scenario projections for long-range planners and policymakers to address adaptation strategies for improving agricultural and food system sustainability.

“Ultimately, we hope DAWN will be a holistic framework of tools that will help bridge the gap between advanced modeling systems and the practical needs of crop producers, water managers and policymakers,” Liang added.

In addition to Liang, investigators on the project from UMD include Applied Environmental Health Professor and Director of CONSERVE and UMD Global STEWARDS, Amy R. Sapkota;  Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Professor and Chair and ESSIC Director Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm; ESSIC Assistant Research Professors Michael Gerst and Thomas Wild; ESSIC Visiting Research Scientist Xuesong Zhang; ESSIC Project Manager Michael Maddox; ESSIC Assistant Research Scientists Junyu Qi and Mitchell Schull; and ESSIC Postdoctoral Associates Yufeng He, Chao Sun and You Wu.


University of Maryland Celebrates Virtual Commencement

May 22, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Following an uncommon end to the spring semester, the University of Maryland honored graduates in a virtual commencement ceremony on May 22, 2020. Thousands of viewers tuned into the main ceremony, which streamed on multiple platforms. 

University President Wallace D. Loh presided, offering words of pride and encouragement to the graduates who earned more than 8,500 bachelor's, master’s and doctoral degrees from various programs. 

“I regret that the end of the semester was disrupted, and students had to be separated from friends and campus activities,” said Loh. “But I’m heartened and proud by how Terps responded, with grit and determination, and with concern for others, finding ways to stay connected and help each other.” 

In his last commencement before retirement in June, President Loh also conferred honorary doctorates to Hiram Whittle, the first African-American male undergraduate student admitted to UMD in 1951 and to Elaine Johnson Coates, the first African-American female student to earn a bachelor’s degree from UMD. 

The commencement address was delivered by U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer ’63, majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and congressman for Maryland’s 5th District. He urged students to take the fearlessness they learned at Maryland and apply it to their futures. 

“Challenge and uncertainty present us with an opportunity to prove that the light of our vision and hope reaches farther than the shadow of our challenges,” said Hoyer. “Class of 2020, I know that you will meet today’s challenge and those you face in the years ahead with resilience and resolve. More than most graduating classes, the class of 2020 has had to be fearless.”

Student speaker Citrupa (Kat) Gopal '20, a biological sciences major, addressed her fellow graduates and also encouraged them to confidently accept the challenges ahead. Additional remarks were made by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and University System of Maryland Regent Gary Attman. Graduates and families were also treated to surprise appearances by special guests and notable UMD alumni Kevin Plank ‘96, Scott Van Pelt ‘88, Maury Povich, Connie Chung ‘69 and WWE’s Mojo Rawley ‘08 throughout the program.  

“It is my sincere hope during your time in College Park that you come to understand that Maryland pride is a very real thing,” Van Pelt shared. “I hope you leave school with it, and I hope you know that all of us that have preceded you across this stage, we have it in you.”

Ahead of the ceremony, graduates received a care package, which included a turtle pin, posters, a commencement program and, for undergraduates, a cap and tassel. All graduates were encouraged to use these items and more to share their UMD memories on social media. More than 1,500 Terps shared more than 3,500 posts on social media using the hashtag #UMDgrad, including photos, videos and their favorite Maryland memories. Many of these memories were shared during the ceremony. 

Individual colleges and schools also hosted their own virtual commencement ceremonies on May 22, featuring remarks from deans, displaying the names of every graduate. In addition to the virtual ceremonies, spring 2020 graduates are invited to attend and be recognized at the Maryland Football game on September 12, 2020, and participate in the December 2020 in-person commencement ceremony. The university continues to closely monitor guidance from state and local leaders, the USM chancellor, and public health officials and will announce additional details when they are available, keeping the health and safety of the university community as the top priority.

To rewatch the full ceremony, visit


The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students,10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 59 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit

UMD Virtual Spring 2020 Commencement Ceremony

May 22, 2020

Watch the University of Maryland's first-ever virtual commencement ceremony celebrating our spring 2020 graduates! The ceremony includes remarks from President Wallace D. Loh, Citrupa (Kat) Gopal '20, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer '63, and several special guests, and will offer opportunities for graduates, families and friends to participate live.

Memorial Chapel to Go Red and Blue to Celebrate University of Maryland and Prince George’s County Grads

May 20, 2020

Golshan Jalali,


The University of Maryland’s (UMD) Office of Community Engagement (OCE) will sponsor the lighting up of the Memorial Chapel with red illuminating lights on the evenings of May 22-24 to celebrate UMD students' graduation.
The office will also help turn the chapel blue from May 29-31 in honor of high school seniors in Prince George's County, whose graduation will be held virtually on May 30 and 31. 
With graduation being virtual, this is a unique gesture to celebrate UMD and PGCPS grads with an iconic UMD monument. 

Anna Lee, owner of Stripe 3 Adidas and active member of the College Park community, reached out to OCE with the idea of lighting up the chapel so that seniors and their families had a physical representation of their accomplishment. 

“We are in this together. By illuminating the chapel, we want to support students and provide hope as they begin a new journey,” said Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, director of the Office of Community Engagement. “Although they finished the semester under challenging circumstances, they remain in solidarity.”  

Graduates are encouraged to capture a photo under the lights while following social distancing guidelines. 



University of Maryland to Livestream Virtual Spring 2020 Commencement

May 18, 2020

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For the first time, the University of Maryland will host its 2020 spring commencement virtually on Friday, May 22. As the university continues to emphasize the importance of social distancing, the ceremony will be streamed across multiple platforms and will include remarks by student commencement speaker Citrupa (Kat) Gopal ‘20, a biological sciences major, and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer '63. President Wallace D. Loh will confer degrees to the Spring 2020 graduates and confer honorary doctorates to the first African-American male undergraduate student admitted to UMD in 1951 and to the first African-American female student admitted in 1955. The virtual ceremony will also include messages for graduates from several special guests. 

The university is distributing care packages to all Spring 2020 graduates which includes the official commencement program, a turtle pin and other items. Undergraduate seniors will all receive a cap and tassel. Additionally, UMD has called on graduates to share photos, videos and messages of memories, experiences and hope with fellow Terps using the hashtag #UMDgrad for the opportunity to be included in the virtual commencement ceremony. Throughout the program, students will be called upon to respond live on social media and to engage by leaving comments, using designated hashtags, and sharing photos.


 University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh
 The Honorable Steny H. Hoyer ‘63
 Student Commencement Speaker Citrupa (Kat) Gopal ‘20
 Several special guests
 Class of 2020 University of Maryland Graduates and Families

Friday, May 22, 2020
1 p.m.
The ceremony will be streamed live on, UMD’s Youtube channel, and on UMD’s Facebook page

Follow the conversation on social media and join in using #UMDgrad.
For more information, visit


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