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Alumni, guests, faculty and staff attended in-person events in the U.S., Germany and Japan, joined online, or watched the live-stream program including a keynote address by alumna and U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Deshauna Barber ’15 via Facebook Live.

University of Maryland University College (UMUC) may lack the football team that’s typically associated with a college homecoming celebration—but the robust team spirit you expect to find at such an event was on full display when UMUC graduates gathered in late October at one of three separate in-person events or online to celebrate their accomplishments and alma mater at Alumni Homecoming 2018.

In part, the event was organized as an opportunity for alumni to come together and commemorate their UMUC experiences while reconnecting with classmates and making new friends and business connections, said Nikki Sandoval, UMUC associate vice president of Alumni Relations and Career Services.

The event celebrated, too, the shared qualities of character that bind UMUC alumni together—the grit, the dedication, the ‘hustle spirit’—that helped them to master competing work and life priorities and achieve their education goals.

“Alumni Homecoming grounds us as we respect our rich history . . . and unites and inspires us as we look to the future,” Sandoval added.

In opening remarks at the U.S. celebration on Oct. 25 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Adelphi, Maryland, UMUC President Javier Miyares told attendees that the theme for Homecoming 2018—Together We Are UMUC—aptly captured the university’s essence.

“[It] is most fitting. As a graduate, you are part of a global community of more than 215,000 alumni. You are working professionals, parents, our nation’s heroes, and together you represent our proudest achievement at UMUC. Together we are creating the university of the future one graduate at a time,” Miyares said.

In addition to the Maryland event, companion in-person Alumni Homecoming 2018 celebrations were held by UMUC Europe on Oct. 19 at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and by UMUC Asia on Oct. 26 at the Hilton Okinawa Chatan Resort, Japan. 

Homecoming keynote speaker and UMUC alumna, U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Deshauna Barber ’15, who also spoke at Winter-Commencement 2017, urged her fellow alumni to nurture good in themselves and in the greater community.

“I challenge you to create the change. Why? Because we lead by example at UMUC. And change doesn’t start outside those doors. It starts with us,” she said.

Barber, a motivational speaker, is the first woman serving in the military to be crowned Miss USA—she won the 2016 title representing the District of Columbia.

2018 Alumni Award Winners

The 2018 homecoming events presented an opportunity for the UMUC Alumni Association to publicly recognize six of the university’s most exceptional graduates—recipients of the 28th Annual Alumni Awards, honored for their service to UMUC and their fellow alumni community.

 “We’re extremely proud of this year’s award recipients,” said Sandoval. “They each serve as an inspiration to UMUC’s greater student and alumni community as they strive to make a difference in their own communities and industries.”

 Awards are given in four categories.

The Alumni Achiever Award pays tribute to UMUC alumni and community members who have made a significant contribution to supporting the university's mission. This year’s recipients are:

Harriette E. Chiavacci ’86 – recognized for her unwavering commitment as a volunteer to support her fellow graduates. In addition to volunteering on several Alumni Association committees, Chiavacci has volunteered at more than 20 alumni activities over the last four years.

Thomas C. Bailey ’86 – recognized for his participation in numerous alumni and student activities and his selfless commitment to supporting the university’s mission, the vice dean for Science Programs at UMUC co-founded the Psychology Scholars Endowed Scholarship Fund and established the Dr. Thomas Bailey Endowed Nursing Scholarship to help provide financial support to UMUC’s students.

Eric Sullivan ’00, ’01 – recognized for his active participation as an industry expert panelist and a career mentor at UMUC, and for his work with UMUC’s Employer Services team to help recruit UMUC talent for Inovalon.

The Edward A. Parnell Outstanding Alumnus Award, which recognizes a UMUC alumnus who has shown exemplary volunteer service over the course of the current year, was awarded to Deshauna B. Barber ’15 for her outstanding support of the university and the UMUC Alumni Association.

Barber’s efforts have helped to strengthen the university’s commitment to excellence and enabled students and alumni to better their communities. She is passionate about serving the men and women in the U.S. military, and as Miss USA 2016, focused her efforts on PTSD treatment for soldiers returning from deployments and suicide prevention in the Armed Forces.

The Alumni Executive Business Leader Award honors those who have served in a leadership role in their community and promote involvement in the university. Gary Hayslip ’03, vice president and chief i

nformation security officer (CISO) for Webroot, the largest privately held internet security company in the country, earned the honor for his extensive contributions to the San Diego cybersecurity community, for his participation as an industry expert panelist and his active role as a career mentor volunteer. Hayslip promotes involvement in UMUC activities and leads by example in demonstrating the value and application of a UMUC degree.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest alumni award granted at UMUC, was created in 1976 to recognize an alumnus who has realized outstanding personal and professional achievement while demonstrating exemplary service.

This year’s recipient, Michael Echols ’06, ’03, is a senior cybersecurity executive and critical infrastructure protection strategist working with senior corporate leaders and government officials to make the nation more resilient—and is leading a revolution to stand up and support Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAO).

He was honored for his work, which has made great strides in protecting our nation, and for his tireless work as a selfless public servant advocating on behalf of optimizing national cybersecurity strategy and contributing to positive change in the field.

His leadership as a career mentor and guest lecturer in several cybersecurity capstone courses, as well as his participation in both a digital storytelling video to share industry insights with students and in the Cybersecurity Roadtrip Nation initiative has had a positive impact on many lives.

Echols consistently demonstrates how to lead by example through giving back to UMUC and passionately encourages others to support and connect with their alma mater.

Learn more about the Annual Alumni Awards and recipients HERE.

Learn more about Together, We Support our Military, Together We Celebrate and other alumni engagement activities that took place before and during Alumni Homecoming 2018 HERE, and follow these links to view event photo albums:

UMUC Alumni Homecoming – Maryland

UMUC Alumni Homecoming – Europe

UMUC Alumni Homecoming – Asia

UMUC Alumni Award Ceremony