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Commencement Speaker


Robert L. Caret

 Robert L. Caret is the fourth chancellor of the University System of Maryland (USM). Under his leadership, USM has increased enrollment to more than 176,000 students and annually awards more than 42,000 degrees, including 75 percent or more of Maryland's bachelor's degrees.

During the same time, USM has kept tuition affordable by dramatically increasing financial aid, particularly for families with the greatest need, and by offering multiple pathways to a degree. Nearly 50 percent of USM undergraduate students graduate without debt. USM has also become more diverse and inclusive than ever before under Caret's leadership. Nearly 50 percent of USM undergraduates are underrepresented and other minorities, and they have reached increasing levels of success. USM awarded more than 8,000 bachelor's degrees to underrepresented minorities in FY2018, increasing STEM bachelor's degrees earned by underrepresented minorities by 27 percent since FY2016.

During Caret's tenure, USM has expanded its role as an economic engine. USM has established the Maryland Momentum Fund, a venture capital fund designed to provide early funding for startup companies born out of USM research, which has invested more than $800,000.

At the same time, USM has continued to build its reputation for academic and research excellence. All USM universities have been ranked among the nation's best by such publications as U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger, The Princeton Review, Washington Monthly, and others.

Active in the national higher education community, Caret recently served as chair of both the National Association of System Heads and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Board of Directors. He also sits on the board of Business-Higher Education Forum, Southern Regional Higher Education Board, Higher Ed for Higher Standards Board of Advisors and the Government University Industry Research Roundtable.

Caret also serves on a number of boards in Maryland, including the Greater Baltimore Committee, Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, University of Maryland Medical System, College Savings Plans of Maryland, World Trade Center Institute, Maryland Council on Economic Education, BioHealth Innovation, Inc., and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation. Caret has been recognized by The Daily Record, which named him among its 2017 Icon Honors winners and its 2016 list of Influential Marylanders.

Before joining USM as chancellor, Caret was president of the University of Massachusetts System. Before that, he was president of Towson University, where he also served as a faculty member, dean, executive vice president and provost. He previously served as president of San Jose State University.

He holds a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Suffolk University in Boston.