USM 1988-2008: System Marks 20 Years of Growth and Service

July 1, 2008, marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the University System of Maryland (USM).

In the two decades since the creation of USM from the merger of the five University of Maryland institutions and the six members of the State University and College System of Maryland, USM has crossed significant milestones in its growth and in its service to the citizens of Maryland.

Since 1988, the number of in- and out-of-state students attending USM's 11 universities has grown 34 percent overall, from 102,687 in fall 1988 to a record-setting 137,648 in fall 2007. Breaking these statistics down, USM has made significant progress in expanding access and opportunity for the state's diverse student population during the past two decades. In terms of annual numbers, since 1988:

  • The number of first-time full-time freshmen has grown 58 percent.
  • The number of community college transfer students has grown 149 percent.
  • The number of bachelor's degrees granted has increased 34 percent, while master's degrees granted grew by 154 percent and doctoral degrees by 108 percent.
  • Minority student enrollment has tripled in actual numbers, from 15 percent (15,404) of total students in 1988 to 36 percent (49,553) in 2008.

During this same period, the system has become a research and development powerhouse now attracting more than $1 billion in grants and contracts to the state annually; performing ground-breaking research in medicine and the biosciences, the environment, physics, electrical and computing engineering, and in leading-edge fields such as nanotechnology and nanobiotechnology; and fostering innovation and economic development in Maryland's private sector through tech transfer, entrepreneurship programs and grants, and technology parks. The diverse talents and capabilities of the institutions within our system have helped to propel Maryland's leadership in the new knowledge economy.

"The foundation of USM's mission has always been expanding access to higher education to more and more students and working with the state to promote its economic strength through education and research," said USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan. "Looking ahead to our third decade, demand for higher education will only grow as we serve an increasingly diverse student population. We will also need to work even more collaboratively with the different sectors of education, business, and government in the state to ensure Maryland's continued leadership in the national and global economy. The faculty, staff, and students of USM will play a most critical role in making this happen."

For more highlights of USM history, view our USM Timeline.

Contact: John Buettner
Phone: 301.445.2719