Retiring presidents Robert Bogomolny and Fred Lazarus, of the University of Baltimore and the Maryland Institute College of Art, respectively, both received Sondheim Public Service Awards Thursday from the Greater Baltimore Committee.
The university presidents were recognized for their “extraordinary” efforts to transform the city’s Midtown neighborhood, where both institutions are located.
GBC President Don Fry said both men did such exceptional work that the organization decided to give two Sondheim awards this year, even though there’s usually just one recipient per year.
Lazarus, who announced last year his plans to retire this month after 35 years as MICA’s president, helped double the art school’s enrollment, expand the campus footprint and add 17 new academic programs.
The GBC also lauded Lazarus’ focus on “improving the cultural and economic vitality” of the city, such as his role in launching the annual Artscape festival, which has become a Baltimore mainstay.
Bogomolny, who after 12 years at the helm of UB has earned similar respect and admiration, was also commended for his community revitalization efforts.
In particular, Bogomolny will be remembered for changing the physical face of UB and better integrating campus infrastructure into the neighborhood. He was instrumental in building the new John and Frances Angelos Law Center, remodeling the Liberal Arts and Policy Building and creating the Fitzgerald at UB Midtown residential/retail complex.
“You’ve seen this complete change,” said City Councilman Bill Cole in a video played at the GBC’s annual meeting Thursday evening. “It was nothing but commuters in the area, and then all of a sudden, MICA had the residential component and then more people started moving around UB, and then started seeing businesses pop up … and this miraculous transformation of the community.”
Additionally, the GBC recognized University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan, who this month announced his retirement after 12 years, with the Regional Visionary Award.
Kirwan was lauded for his commitment to advocating for higher education as a pathway to economic growth, and for working to correct deficiencies in workforce skills development.
The Regional Visionary Award was also given to Michael Busch, the speaker of the House of Delegates.