About the Anniversary  I  50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend  I  Getting Involved

About the Anniversary

When is UMBC’s 50th anniversary, and what are we celebrating?

The UMBC community’s journey started when the University welcomed its first students into classes on September 19, 1966. Our 50th anniversary celebration will honor many facets of the UMBC experience and span the period between October 2015 and May 2017.

What does “Grit & Greatness” mean?

A great university is forged with grit and a shared vision of excellence. Together, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni have made UMBC a national leader in diversity, excellence, and innovation—in only 50 years. We take special pride in our graduates, whose vital contributions to society and the economy extend UMBC’s impact throughout Maryland and beyond. These words celebrate this special UMBC pride.

The word “grit” also calls directly to UMBC’s mascot, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named True Grit. Read True Grit’s origin story in UMBC Magazine.

How can I stay in the loop about the 50th?

There are many ways of staying up to date. Check this site for the full calendar of 50th events, as well as volunteer opportunities, at any time. If you’re an alum, please be sure to update your contact information so we can send you information via UMBC Magazine and email. You can also “like” the UMBC Alumni Facebook page to hear updates and even win 50th Anniversary swag!

50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend

Will there be a big party at some point?

In addition to an array of fun and educational events throughout 2016 and spring 2017, the UMBC community will host a special 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend September 16 – 19, 2016. Register and see the full calendar of events here. Stay tuned here for more information about the weekend, including parking and more. But, the anniversary isn’t just a weekend long. Check out the full calendar for the year here.

>> Download a PDF of our Anniversary Weekend program

Where do I park during the Celebration Weekend?

Parking on campus will be free throughout the weekend, starting at 3:30 p.m. Friday. We suggest Lots 22 and 29 for the easiest access to anniversary events, and the House of Grit Community Festival, which will be located adjacent to the Performing Arts & Humanities Building. Please follow the signs. See the campus map here. Handicapped parking is available in Lot 9, behind the Performing Arts & Humanities Building (on the loop side).

>> See additional information about parking prior to the 50th

Will there be shuttles to help me get from the parking lots to places on campus?

Yes. Shuttles will stop at marked bus stops around the loop every 15-20 minutes to help you around campus.

Where do I sign in once I arrive on campus?

If you arrive on Friday afternoon or evening, you’ll find the registration area in the Performing Arts & Humanities Building Box Office  (first floor of the building) from 6-9 p.m. (Guests who have purchased tickets to the Really, Really Big Breakfast and Bingo can go directly to the RAC.)

If you arrive on Saturday, you can check in at the Uniters Tent in the House of Grit Community Festival Area next to the Performing Arts & Humanities Building.

Do I need to visit the registration area before going to the events for which I’ve registered?

Yes, you should visit registration in the Uniters Tent so you can pick up your event program, commemorative name badge, and other 50th goodies we have for you.

I haven’t registered yet. Can I register on site?

Online registration is now closed, but you can register on-site. On Friday, September 16, you can register from 6-9 p.m. in the Performing Arts & Humanities Building Box Office. On Saturday, you can register at the Uniters Tent in the House of Grit Community Festival next to the Performing Arts & Humanities Building, and purchase tickets to paid events as available (credit cards are preferred, but cash and check will also be accepted at the main registration table in the Uniters Tent).

On site registration for the following events will be available pending space at the event location, credit cards only: Roots of Greatness, Stoop Stories, the Fab Four Alumni Dinner, and the Decades Dance Party.

You can pay for soccer games on site at the Retriever Soccer Park.

I registered online, but I’d like to add to it. How do I do that?

The best way to do that is to click on the link in the bottom of the confirmation email you received when you registered the first time. You should then be able to add any additional events, pay events included.

Where are the guest assistance/restroom/first aid areas on campus?

Registration and guest assistance is located in the Uniters Tent, within the House of Grit Community Festival. For questions, please also feel free to ask our event staff, who are wearing gold t-shirts.

Restroom trailers are on the far end of the House of Grit. Restrooms will also be open in the Performing Arts & Humanities Building, the Fine Arts Building, and The Commons.

Lost and Found is located in the Performing Arts & Humanities Building, Room 108.

A first aid station will be located on Hilltop Circle near the Performing Arts & Humanities Building. Dial 911 in case of emergency.

What should I wear and/or bring with me?

Dress comfortably and casually (festival attire) for the day and weather, particularly if you’re attending more than one event. Most events are outdoors. None of the events requires formal or dress attire. Wear comfortable shoes so you can explore campus — and don’t forget your black and gold!

If you plan to enjoy the beer garden in the House of Grit area, or in the Decades Dance Party, be sure to bring cash and a valid state-issued ID to be admitted to these areas. These areas accept cash only.

Who is coming to the Celebration Weekend?

Visit our “Look Who’s Coming” page here to see a full list of registered guests — a terrific list of alumni, faculty, staff, and students. We can’t wait to see you all!

What are my dining options during the weekend?

A community picnic will be held in the House of Grit Community Festival area from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, September 17. Tickets to the picnic may be purchased by visiting the registration area in the Uniters Tent. The picnic will have gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options.

Food trucks will be available throughout the day Saturday, featuring a variety of types of foods. The following trucks will be on hand for cash and credit purchases: Mexican On The Run, South Carolina BBQ, LaCakerie, and Greek on the Street.

There will be a beer and wine garden in the House of Grit, and bars at the Decades Dance Party for guests who are at least 21 years of age. Cash purchases only. Guests must show a valid state-issued ID to be admitted.

A limited number of Kosher meals will be available for the following events: the community picnic dinner, Roots of Greatness, Fab Four Alumni Dinner.

Several campus eateries will be open on Saturday. True Grit’s Dining Hall will be open from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. for brunch, and from 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. for dinner. In the Commons, 2.Mato will be open from 11 a.m.-1 a.m., and in the library Pura Vida Café will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

What is the rain plan for the weekend?

The celebration will happen rain or shine, and only be cancelled in the case of extreme weather. In that case, a message will be posted to the 50th website (50.umbc.edu) and the UMBC website (umbc.edu).

Are refunds available for tickets already purchased?

We’re sorry, but refunds are not available.

Will assistive listening systems be available?

Assistive listening systems will be available for the Grit-X and Stoop Stories programs in the Linehan Concert Hall. Concert Hall staff will be available to help you with these devices, should you need them.

I have a question about an event. Who should I contact?

Feel free to check in with our Alumni Relations team at umbc50@umbc.edu or 410-455-2632.

Getting Involved


I can’t make it to campus for the September celebration weekend, but I’d like to be involved in the 50th. What can I do?

We’ve created a special site where Retrievers around the world can share stories about their experiences on campus and beyond. Visit Retriever Stories, and contribute to this exciting project!

You can also follow the fun throughout the year on social media. We’ll post photos and videos on Facebook and Twitter. Keep an eye out for our 50th hashtag: #UMBC50

And please consider making a charitable contribution to celebrate your favorite department, program, or initiative on campus! Your gift will help keep us strong for another 50 years.