What Makes Us UMBC

What is branding and why does it matter?

Brand identity is more than a logo or marketing tool. It is who we are, what we say, and how we act. It is how we describe ourselves, and what we want others to think about us. Our culture, and the experiences others have with our campus, define our brand far more than any marketing campaign.

Few higher ed institutions are unique, but there are characteristics that, taken together, can help to define us. By emphasizing what makes us distinctive and telling that story in a consistent, authentic way, we can give our audiences a clear picture of who we are; what distinguishes UMBC from other institutions; and why they should consider us as a campus and partner of choice.

Defining our message: What makes us UMBC

Successful branding is built from a set of elements typically known as brand pillars, which provide a structure to encourage brand fidelity and communicate institutional culture in a consistent manner. The pillars can inform decisions, communications, and experiences across every part of the campus and assure that UMBC’s marketing strategies and messages are grounded in authenticity. The University’s recent strategic planning and branding processes have articulated these brand pillars for UMBC:


UMBC is a dynamic public research university integrating teaching, research and service to benefit the citizens of Maryland. As an Honors University, the campus offers academically talented students a strong undergraduate liberal arts foundation that prepares them for graduate and professional study, entry into the workforce, and community service and leadership. UMBC emphasizes science, engineering, information technology, human services and public policy at the graduate level. UMBC contributes to the economic development of the State and the region through entrepreneurial initiatives, workforce training, K-16 partnerships, and technology commercialization in collaboration with public agencies and the corporate community. UMBC is dedicated to cultural and ethnic diversity, social responsibility, and lifelong learning.


Our UMBC community redefines excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement. We will advance knowledge, economic prosperity, and social justice by welcoming and inspiring inquisitive minds from all backgrounds.

Positioning Statement

For inquisitive people who ask big questions, UMBC provides a community where students can find and be their authentic selves. UMBC supports them on their journey, so they can envision and achieve their goals and influence the world.

Core Values
  • Inclusive Excellence
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Impact
Value Proposition

Welcome to our community of inquiring minds where

  • We make big breakthroughs by asking more of ourselves and the world
  • We inspire one another to reach our full potential and make an impact
  • We collaborate across diverse perspectives to fuel true innovation
Core Themes & Narratives

Reach Together

Curiosity and determination know no limits at UMBC. Our collaborative culture both challenges and supports everyone to push boundaries and make big breakthroughs as they ask important questions and deliver new solutions.

Explore Every Angle

Paths to excellence emerge from our inclusive community that values people in all their complexity — their perspectives, knowledge, ideas, and experiences. If you are looking for an environment of openness, generosity, and constant learning where you’ll build lifelong relationships, you’ve come to the right place.

Claim Your Future

Grit — defined by hard work, courage, and commitment — goes a long way at UMBC and beyond. Students who join our community learn to claim their futures, not simply to check the boxes. They ask more from their college experience, and discover personal strengths and campus support to unlock amazing networks and careers.

Extend Beyond

Our culture of collaboration forges true partnerships to advance knowledge, economic prosperity, civic engagement, and social justice. Through research, internships, athletic competition, careers, and other experiences beyond the campus, we have far-reaching impact close to home and around the world.


If UMBC were a person, it would be

  • Thoughtful
  • Imaginative
  • Inclusive
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Engaged

To reflect that spirit in communications, be as authentic as possible, using language that is vivid, helpful, open, and encouraging.

Find more tips on how to incorporate the brand pillars in your writing and other communications.