University of Maryland Inaugurates 34th President
By Alyssa Kraus
The University of Maryland inaugurated Darryll J. Pines as its 34th president on April 22 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Pines, the previous dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, began acting as university president on July 1, 2020. However, Pines’ official installation was delayed in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Philip Merrill College of Journalism alum and News4 Today anchor Eun Yang hosted the inauguration ceremony, which was livestreamed for community members. A select number of family and friends attended in-person, as well.
Yang, named Alumna of the Year by the University of Maryland Asian American Studies Program, began the ceremony by presenting video greetings from several university and state officials. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was one of the special guests.
“This has been an incredibly trying year for our state and for our entire nation,” Hogan said. “But with President Pines at the helm, the University of Maryland has remained a shining example of what can be accomplished with innovative and collaborative leadership.”
The ceremony included two feature performances. Ileana Lozano, a junior at the university, performed her poem Together Again Soon. Lozano expressed hope for community bonding. In addition, alumna Chelsey Green and The Green Project performed Dr. Funk, a combination of classical and contemporary music showcasing the violin.
Alumna and daughter Kalala Pines welcomed Pines to the stage in her introductory speech. She spoke about the sacrifices her father has made as dean and, now, president. university president.
“Many of you know him as an accomplished, distinguished professor in aerospace engineering. I know him as an incredible father and loving husband,” she said. “My dad has always been there for my brother and I every day, regardless of the circumstance, and I know he will step into this role and lead this institution of more than 40,000 students and 10,000 faculty members with the same mentality.”
After the investiture of his office, Pines stepped up to the podium for his first speech as president with a smile.
“Just trying to soak it all in,” he paused. “It’s just amazing.”
In the midst of two major crises – the pandemic and racial injustice – Pines said that he hopes to address community issues in order to better the university. Therefore, Pines unveiled five new university initiatives in his speech.
“This is our time to reinvent our university. This is a time to examine the future of learning, to enhance the student experience,” Pines said. “In this spirit of reimagining and reinventing our university. Today, we take the next step to move Maryland forward.”
According to Pines, the university’s first initiative is to be net carbon neutral by 2025 and to transition university vehicles to be entirely electric by 2035. Initially, the university had aimed to be net carbon neutral by 2050.
“It is my hope that these measures will help inspire every one of us to commit to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions for our planet and for our people,” Pines said.
In addition, Pines said that the University of Maryland will invest $40 million in FAMILE, the Faculty Advancement at Maryland for Inclusive Learning and Excellence.
“If we are successful, the FAMILE initiative will attract over 100 tenure and tenure-track faculty to our institution and ensure that our students will interact and learn from scholars that not only look like them, but reflect our values and ensure our success for decades into the future,” Pines said.
The third initiative involves a new facility at Cole Field House. According to Pines, it will function as a football performing center. The university will name the center after Billy Jones and Darryl Hill, the alumni who broke the basketball and football color barriers in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jones Hill House will also feature an area where other trailblazers in sports, such as female athletes, will be recognized for their groundbreaking efforts.
Next, the university will invest over $200 million in its innovation and research ecosystem to foster breakthroughs in education, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, quantum science and more.
“With this investment … we have the opportunity to build on our strengths and become … the capital of quantum,” Pines said.
Lastly, in the fifth and final initiative, the university will launch Arts For All, a campus-wide arts initiative.
“This initiative seeks to ensure that the arts are woven into every fabric of our life at the University of Maryland,” Pines said. “Even in the improbable times, the arts, it seems, must be accessible for all.”