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Maryland's Global Story

Global Is In Our DNA

We’ve been leaders in global learning since our founding. From our diverse network of partners, students and faculty from every continent, and our collaborations with researchers and artists, we take on the world’s grand challenges with a relentless spirit of optimism.


The Early Years

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Exterior shot of historic Rossborough Inn.
1871: Maryland (formerly Maryland Agricultural College) welcomes our first international student, Pastor A. Cooke of Panama.
Pyon Su poses for a headshot in 1891.
1891: Pyon Su becomes Maryland's first international graduate, and the first Korean student to receive a degree from any U.S. college or university.
Chunjen Constant Chen poses for a headshot in 1918.
1915: Maryland enrolls our first Chinese student, Chun-Jun "Constant" Chen, from Shanghai. He returns from China in 1952 to become a research professor in agricultural economics and then a professor of Chinese until his retirement in 1967. All four of his sons attend Maryland, as do several of his grandchildren.
Picture of Juan Ramón Jiménez and Zenobia Camprubí
1943: Spanish poet and political refugee Juan Ramón Jiménez joins the Maryland faculty along with his wife and fellow writer Zenobia Camprubí. They teach Spanish, History, and European culture at Maryland until 1951. In 1956, Jiménez is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first of six Maryland faculty and researcher Nobel laureates. In 1981 Maryland names Juan Ramón Jiménez Hall in his honor.
Two students work alongside each other in a chemistry lab, circa 1940s.
1947: Maryland welcomes our first incoming Fulbright scholar, Felicitas Salvador Tacderas, from the Philippines. Since then, Maryland has welcomed a total of 381 Fulbright scholars from around the world.
University President H.C. Byrd gives a speech, circa 1952.
1952: Maryland faculty receives the university’s first Fulbright grant to pursue their research and teaching interests around the world. Since then, more than 280 Maryland faculty have received this prestigious award.
Physics professor and student, circa 1965.
1965: In the years since, nearly 250 Maryland students have been awarded Fulbright grants.
Students volley at the Chinese Ping-Pong diplomacy match, circa 1972.
1972: Maryland hosts one of the “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” table tennis matches at Cole Field House.
UMD and Chinese representatives shake hands after a diplomacy ping-pong match, circa 1972.
1980: Maryland is the first American university to sign a formal agreement with a Chinese university.


Recent History

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Students gather together around a pond.
2001: Maryland's representation in the inaugural cohort of Gilman Scholars, established to provide scholarships to U.S. undergraduates with financial need for study abroad and ensure participation od under represented student groups, recognizes our internationalization achievements and our commitment to providing transformative international experiences for all students.
Chinese lantern and plaques in the Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland.
2004: Maryland establishes the first of what become more than 400 Confucius Institutes in the world.
Students form a human pyramid in front of the Washington Monument.
2008: Maryland’s strategic plan outlines an ambitious agenda to dramatically increase study abroad participation and forge closer ties to foreign embassies and international organizations in Washington, DC.
U21 members pose for a group shot.
2013: Maryland joins the global university network Universitas 21 (U21), an international network of research-intensive universities.
Students sit together in an auditorium.
2013: Maryland launches the Global DC Fellows program empowering student diplomats to contribute to the work of government and non-governmental institutions on issues of peace, security, health, poverty and refugees.
Students sit at desks facing a video conference screen at the front of the classroom during a Global Classrooms course.
2014: Maryland launches the Global Classrooms Initiative, bringing more than 2,000 students into project-based learning environments alongside students from our international partner universities to take on the world’s grand challenges.
Year of Immigration sign in H.J. Patterson Hall, circa 2019
2019: We dedicate 2019 as The Year of Immigration at Maryland, celebrating our international diversity and spotlighting the impacts of forced migration and experiences of refugees. This campus-wide effort culminates in receiving NAFSA’s annual Paul E. Simon Comprehensive Spotlight Award.

Maryland Global Today

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Study abroad student stands in front of a church in Costa Rica talking to other students.
2020: The four strategic pillars of Maryland’s strategic plan Fearlessly Forward center around improving the global common good through reimagining learning, taking on grand challenges, investing in people and communities, and developing partnerships.
Researcher works in the micro robotics lab.
2021: Maryland is distinguished as a "Top Producer" of Gilman and Fulbright Scholars over the past twenty years.
Students sit together in a classroom.
2021: Fearlessly Forward’s global education lens, the Common Agenda, is designed to graduate every student with the knowledge, skills and experience to collaboratively address the global inequities around grand challenges.
Maryland students sit with locals in Guatemala.
2022: With a Fearlessly Forward Teaching and Learning grant, we launch our pilot project Global Learning for All: A Common Agenda for Global Justice—working to develop a global-learning-for-all plan through the lens of supporting reparative global justice initiatives.
UMD partners pose with Testudo.
2022: We pilot Global Project-Based Learning modules in courses at the Schools of Engineering, Public Health, Information Sciences, Government and Politics and College Park Scholars, centered in taking on global grand challenges and involving the support of partners both domestic and international.
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