About the Awards

Graduates of the University of Maryland are among the best and brightest in their fields. From scholars and innovators to entrepreneurs, teachers and researchers, our alumni are leaving their mark on our state, nation and world. The Alumni Excellence Awards recognize the accomplishments of select Terps and honor these recipients with distinction. Click here to learn more about the nomination and selection process. Nominations will be accepted May 10 - June 15, 2021.

Nominate A Terp

Rising Terp Award

Honors an alumnus/a under 30 years old who has distinguished themselves personally and professionally. Up to three Rising Terp Awards will be granted annually, celebrating a Terp/s who excel in their career and inspire the next generation of Terp leaders.

2021 Honorees

Nikhil Balakumar

Nikhil Balakumar ‘14

Head of Market Development - Eastern region, Utildata; Co-Founder, Terp Entrepreneur Network

Balakumar is an innovator, pushing for smarter use of clean energy like electricity and better access to utility company data.

Read More about Nikhil Balakumar

Dani Beckerman

Dani Beckerman ‘12

Owner, Jars by Dani

This rising Terp turned her baking hobby into a thriving business when she founded Jars by Dani in 2013. Now, she sells her neatly packed, colorful cakes nationwide.

Read More about Dani Beckerman

Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod

Sahil Rahman ‘12 and Rahul Vinod ‘11

Founders and Owners, Rasa

Through their Indian fast-casual eateries, these lifelong friends helped feed more than 20,000 people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More about Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod

Research Award

Honors an alumnus/a whose research has made a significant impact on the university, the state and/or the nation. Up to three Research Awards will be granted, celebrating a Terp/s whose research is transformational.

2021 Honorees

Autumn Griffin

Autumn Griffin Ph.D. ‘20

Co-Founder, Blackademia

Griffin, a postdoctoral researcher studying technology in the classroom, launched the Blackademia digital network to share and celebrate stories of people of color in academic spaces.

Read More about Autumn Griffin

Ruth Kastner

Ruth Kastner ‘82, M.S. ‘92, Ph.D. ‘99

Founder of the Quantum Institute, Author, Educator and UMD Research Associate

Read More about Ruth Kastner

Samuel Ramsey

Samuel Ramsey Ph.D. ‘18

Entomologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture Bee Research Lab

Ramsey revolutionized the honey bee world when he discovered that a parasite that threatens the population is feeding on bees‘ organs, and not their blood as previously believed.

Read More about Samuel Ramsey

EnTERPrenuer Award

Honors an entrepreneurial alumnus/a whose company has made a significant impact on the university, the state and/or the nation. Up to three EnTERPreneur Awards will be granted annually, celebrating a Terp/s who has started a business that is fearlessly disrupting its industry.

2021 Honorees

Cate Luzio

Cate Luzio ‘97

Founder & CEO, Luminary

Luzio founded a collaboration hub for women to develop, network and connect. She recently expanded her online programs to reach women across the country.

Read More about Kate Luzio

Brett Schulman

Brett Schulman ‘95


Under Schulman‘s direction, the Mediterranean fast-casual chain has expanded to almost 300 restaurants in 24 states, including a location in College Park.

Read More about Brett Schulman

Steve Touw

Steve Touw ‘99

Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Immuta

Touw and his UMD Discovery District-based company create software that enables legal and ethical use of data while protecting privacy.

Read More about Steve Touw

Legacy Award

Honors an alumnus/a who has made a significant impact to their community over their lifetime. Up to three Legacy Awards will be granted annually, celebrating the personal and professional lifetime achievement of Terps.

2021 Honorees

Rebecca Evans Carroll

Rebecca Evans Carroll Ed.D. ‘66

Author, Educator and Former Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Baltimore City Public Schools

In 1962, Carroll became the first African American woman to earn a doctorate from UMD.

Photo courtesy of The Baltimore Sun 1983

Read More about Rebecca Evans Carroll

Karel Petraitis

Karel Petraitis

President, Prince George's County Terps Alumni Network; Volunteer with Rebounders and Fast Breakers; Former Terrapin Club Board Member

This avid Terps fan grew up in College Park and has spent most of her life supporting UMD.

Read More about Karel Petraitis

Greg Schaub

Greg Schaub ‘82

Retired Managing Director, JP Morgan Chase; Former Member, Alumni Association Board of Governors

Schaub boosts UMD‘s presence in his home state of Texas through networking events and a scholarship he and his wife created.

Read More about Greg Schaub