Passing of Passing of Albin Owings Kuhn, UMBC’s First Chancellor

From:​ Freeman Hrabowski

It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the passing of Albin Owings Kuhn.

Albin O. Kuhn served as UMBC’s first Chancellor, when the University opened its doors in 1966, and was heavily involved in the campus’s
initial planning, development and construction.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.), he served there early in his career as Professor of Agronomy
(1941-1955) and  Chair of the Agronomy Department (1948-1955).  He also served as Assistant to the President (1955-1958) and Executive
Vice President (1958-1965) of the University of Maryland System, which at that time included the College Park, Baltimore City, and Eastern
Shore campuses.

In 1965, Dr. Kuhn was given responsibility for developing our campus, then the newest member of the System. He and his family moved into one
of the original farmhouses on the campus grounds – a small gray house that became his family’s residence, his office, and a welcoming place
frequented by UMBC students and faculty members.  Its porch became the catalog center for the library’s nascent 20,000-volume collection.
That farmhouse is gone today, replaced by our library, which was named to honor Dr. Kuhn.

He served officially as Chancellor of both UMBC and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) professional schools campus, a position he
held from 1967 until UMBC’s second Commencement in 1971. At that time, the leadership of the two campuses was separated, and he left UMBC to
serve as Chancellor of UMB. Needless to say, Albin Kuhn’s leadership capacity was extraordinary.  The 25th-anniversary commemorative issue
of UMBC Review noted, “It is remarkable to think that Kuhn built UMBC, but worked only one half day every day to do it.”

At Commencement each year, I share with graduates the following advice Albin Kuhn offered UMBC’s first graduating class in 1970:

“If you bring to the future the same personal qualities and personal commitment you have brought to this campus as students, good and
important things will happen to each of you, as well as to those around you…and the university community will be proud to have played a
part in your life.”

Albin Kuhn is remembered by his colleagues and friends for his lifetime commitment to UMBC’s growth and success, to the success of
public higher education in Maryland, and for his outstanding service as an administrator, professor, mentor, and friend. We will miss him

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Friends of the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery at UMBC. Checks may be made
payable to the UMBC Foundation and sent to the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, Administrative Offices, UMBC, 1000 Hilltop Circle,
Baltimore, MD  21250.

Viewings will be held Friday, March 26, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., at the Haight Funeral Home and Chapel at 6416 Sykesville Road (Route 32),
Sykesville, MD 21784.

Plans for a memorial service on campus are being made, and we will keep the campus community informed.


2 responses to “Passing of Passing of Albin Owings Kuhn, UMBC’s First Chancellor

  1. I remember Dr Kuhn as a student in the fall of1967
    I also think he may have had a son who also was at UMBC around the same time
    The vision and dicipline required to facilitate such an undertaking of forming an academic institution is applauded

  2. I remember that he was kind to me, a rather loopy student who had become interested in working on the Retriever. I’m sorry that he is gone.

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