The academic pedigree of the University of Maryland Baltimore County doesn’t leap off the page, the Washington Post reports. At Yale University, the graduation rate is 96 percent. At UMBC, it is 68 percent. Dartmouth College has produced 73 Rhodes scholars; UMBC, none. The state’s flagship public university is in College Park, not Catonsville. But a closer look at UMBC reveals an institution that has built a reputation for teaching to rival the higher-education elite. In recent years, UMBC has been alternately hailed or dissected by Time magazine, “60 Minutes” and various college rankers. Its president, Freeman Hrabowski III, has visited the White House, dined with Queen Elizabeth II and co-chaired a panel on higher-education excellence with the president of Harvard University. UMBC is an insider’s university, a place professors send their children, an academic brand as familiar to presidents and provosts as it is unfamiliar to the general public. But after years of acclaim, that may finally be changing…

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