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Campus & Community

The Year in Pictures: 2023

Our Favorite Images Capture Campus Milestones, Fleeting Moments and a Day That Blew Us Away

By Maryland Today Staff

Sunset over Memorial Chapel and Thurgood Marshall Hall

The glowing “Do Good” sculpture helps light up a sunset vista of campus that includes Thurgood Marshall Hall and Memorial Chapel. “Our students step onto campus wanting to make an impact from day one,” said Robert Orr, dean of the School of Public Policy, which is housed in UMD’s newest academic building.

Photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. '23

The Do Good icon in front of Thurgood Marshall Hall was unveiled with fanfare on Maryland Day in April, not only illuminating the plaza, but standing as a beacon visible from Baltimore Avenue and beyond.

The installation signaled the University of Maryland’s expansion of its Do Good initiative and its recommitment to making a difference in the world. It also was tied to two other UMD highlights in 2023: the 25th year of its biggest event, and the opening of the university’s newest building, the home of the School of Public Policy, named for the late Supreme Court justice and pioneer in desegregation.

Do Good values were threaded throughout the year, starting with the $30 million Grand Challenges Grants program supporting innovative research that uniquely brings together different disciplines in the service of humanity.

In addition, the university launched new centers and initiatives to address other pressing societal issues: The $20 million NSF Institute for Trustworthy AI in Law & Society (TRAILS); The National Quantum Laboratory (QLab), opened in partnership with College Park-based IonQ; and PROGRESS (Prevent Gun Violence: Research, Empowerment, Strategies and Solutions).

UMD in fiscal 2023 shattered its record for research funding, receiving $834 million, up 23% from a year ago, and ranked with the University of Maryland, Baltimore among the top 20 universities for research and development spending.

The university excelled in other rankings, too, including being named the No. 1 college in the nation for LGBTQ+ students and a top 5 school for undergraduate entrepreneurship education.

Graduates and their families celebrated Commencement with “CBS Mornings” cohost Gayle King ’76 sharing memories of campus. A new statue of “Wimpy Kid” Greg Heffley in the Stamp recognized its homegrown author Jeff Kinney ’93 and became an instant selfie site. Homecoming marked its 100th anniversary, and the football team headed to its third consecutive bowl game.

The revitalization of Greater College Park chugged along with the opening of more student housing, GrillMarx Steakhouse & Raw Bar in The Hotel (soon to be joined by fellow restaurant Iron Rooster) and, most recently, Shop Made in Maryland in the new College Park City Hall. The continuing construction of the state’s light-rail Purple Line on campus tested patience while still carrying hopes of a transformative new option in transportation. 

UMD, like many other universities, contended with tension related to the recent violence in Israel and Gaza. As part of the university’s efforts to maintain respect for diversity and civil discourse, a new task force will provide recommendations on a strategy to confront antisemitism and Islamophobia on campus.

We’ll lean into a new year seeking peace and understanding. But first, here’s a look back at the photography team’s favorite images of 2023:

Close-up of a woman's eyes and hair as her glasses have a purple glare

An expert in computer vision, Research Scientist Cornelia Fermüller of UMD’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies received nearly $1 million in August from the National Science Foundation as part of a team studying ways to bolster musical instrument instruction with artificial intelligence. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

Students examine a bug in a girl's hand in the woods

Sophia Athanas ’24 (left) shows off a wood roach to Lily Humke ’24 as Sabrina Purtee ’24 watches. Athanas founded the Bug Club this year to bring together insect-loving undergrads. Every week, the group heads into nearby woods and streams to search for Hercules beetles, millipedes, bald-faced hornets and other insects to collect for examination. (Photo by John T. Consoli)

A brown mother horse and foal run in an enclosure

The staff at the Campus Farm got a gangly, four-legged surprise at the end of last year. Unbeknownst to the staff, mom Noble had been pregnant when she arrived on campus in March, and her foal got a fitting name: Blue, for “out of the blue.” (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

Male shirtless students run past the M planted with flowers

Members of the Terp Runners Club dash past the M on a warm, early fall day. (Photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. ’23)

Students in caps and gowns sit in a stadium listening to a Gayle King speak on stage

Gayle King ’76 addressed new graduates and their families at the 2023 Commencement ceremony. The “CBS Mornings” anchor, who hadn’t been on campus since completing her degree, talked about the importance of resilience, recalling the devastation she’d felt when her father died during her freshman year. “The only thing to do is take one step forward, just one,” she said. (Photo by John T. Consoli)

Darryll Pines in a suit walks with students on a sidewalk

UMD President Darryll J. Pines joined Terps finding their way around campus on the first day of classes in August. He popped into classrooms, took selfies with students on McKeldin Mall and handed out turtle pins. “It’s just a joy to see (students’) joy and excitement,” he said. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

leaves in a petri dish

A tiny poplar sprouts in a dish in the lab of Gary Coleman, an associate professor of plant sciences working with genetically modified variants of the tree species that could provide novel, renewable sources of biofuel. (Photo by John T. Consoli)

A crowd of tents and students on McKeldin Mall

About 650 student groups set up on McKeldin Mall in September for the annual First Look Fair, a chance for clubs and organizations to woo new members. New groups this year included Girl Gains, for women interested in weightlifting, Pop Musica UMD, a gathering of pop music enthusiasts, and the Competitive Programming Club, for people looking to take part in coding and programming contests. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

An adult holds a child with his arms spread in a crowd inside a wind tunnel

The Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel is a perennial favorite at Maryland Day. The facility reopened after renovation in 2023, and is celebrating 75 years of operations in 2024. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

students gather around a rube goldberg machine

Student teams from each academic department of the A. James Clark School of Engineering competed in February's Alumni Cup competition to build Rube Goldberg-type machines that moved Testudo models across tiny representations of McKeldin Mall. The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering’s solar and hydroelectric “Green Machine” exceeded the competition’s 3.5-meter distance requirement by almost half a meter. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

A Maryland flag waves above a crowd

Fans cheered on the Maryland football team as the Terps trounced the Towson Tigers at SECU Stadium on Sept. 2. Maryland will face the Auburn Tigers in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 in Nashville, Tenn., its third bowl appearance in as many years. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles/Maryland Athletics)

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