Freeman Hrabowski III and Adrian Ridner Named 2022 Innovators of Color

March 3, 2022

It is with great honor that we invite you to join us in celebrating the 2022 Innovator of Color award winners, President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, and Co-founder and CEO Adrian Ridner. With Freeman recently announcing his retirement from UMBC after a career transforming the institution, it's students, and alumni, we are pleased to also honor him with the Lifetime Achievement award.

Each year ASU+GSV honors leading global innovators of color who are making a true impact in education and workforce skills. These leaders have had a profound impact through their work, supporting millions of learners, from Pre-K to Gray, and achieving extraordinary outcomes.

Please join us in honoring the 2022 Innovators of Color award winners, presented by Russell Reynolds Associates, on Stage X Wednesday, April 6, live in San Diego and streaming virtually.

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, is also being named a 2022 Lifetime Achievement award winner, has served as President of UMBC since 1992 and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most influential leaders. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. Under his stewardship UMBC has been ranked among the counties most innovative universities as well as a leading institution for undergraduate teaching. Most recently, UMBC was given R1 designation (Research 1), and is now ranked as one of only 146 R1 institutions nationally.

He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the 2011 report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He was named in 2012 by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. His 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.

A child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, Four Little Girls, on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama, Hrabowski graduated from Hampton Institute with highest honors in mathematics. He received his M.A. (mathematics) and Ph.D. (higher education administration/statistics) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Adrian Ridner is co-founder and CEO of, a leading education platform helping over 30 million learners and educators a month in achieving their academic goals. As a Latino EdTech founder and first-generation college graduate, Adrian has spent the past two decades focused on making education accessible for under-supported learners.

Study has donated $24 million across social impact programs committed to increasing access and equity in education for underserved learners. These programs include the Working Scholars initiative, an accelerated pathway for working adults to earn their Bachelor’s degree at no cost – which won California Non-Profit of the Year. And most recently, Keys to the Classroom which addresses the teacher shortage and lack of diversity in the teacher pipeline by helping aspiring educators earn their teacher certification.

In 2019, Silicon Valley Business Journal named Adrian a 40 Under 40 honoree, and Silicon Valley Latino honored him with their prestigious Latino Trailblazer Award. He was selected to serve on Silicon Valley Leadership Group's Game Changers 2020 team to cast a vision of transformative learning and its social impact. Adrian serves on the board of the Riecken Foundation, promoting literacy and access to knowledge in Central America. He also serves as a board member for Cal Poly State University's Engineering & Computer Science advisory council, where he has helped transform the curriculum to prepare graduates for their fast-changing technology careers.

Adrian graduated from Cal Poly University with a Master's and Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

Join us at the premier global EdTech event, April 4-6, 2022 at ASU+GSV 13.0 to celebrate these winners and their incredible impact in the world of innovation and learning.