Nominate The Sun’s 2022 Marylander of the Year | COMMENTARY

What Marylander had the biggest impact on the state this year?

Send your nominations for The Sun’s 2022 Marylander of the Year to, with “Marylander of the Year” in the subject line. We’ll announce the finalists in mid-December and a winner before the end of the year.


As inspiration, here’s the roster of The Sun’s previous honorees:

1987: Steven Muller. The Johns Hopkins president won The Sun’s inaugural award for his “relentless drive, intelligence, vision, institutional ambition, smooth tongue and grasp of the possible.”


1988: Vincent DeMarco. Mr. DeMarco was the essential element in the coalition that won support for landmark restrictions on guns known as “Saturday night specials.”

1989: Anne Tyler. The novelist won the award in the same year that “Breathing Lessons” won the Pulitzer Prize and “The Accidental Tourist” became a hit movie.

1990: Robert Linowes. Montgomery County attorney Robert Linowes won for the work of a commission he chaired that sought to create a fairer, more equitable state tax system.

1991: Cal Ripken Jr. The Sun honored Cal Ripken after a season in which he was the All-Star game MVP, American League MVP and Sporting News and AP Player of the Year.

1992: Bea Gaddy. The Sun said of Baltimore’s advocate and helper for the poor, “Others preach the Golden Rule; Bea Gaddy lives it.”

1993: James W. Rouse. The Sun said the developer “makes people believe. He lends his credibility and contacts and ideas. For lack of a better label, he is called a visionary.”

1995: Kweisi Mfume. The Sun honored Kweisi Mfume when he took over leadership of the NAACP. “His whole life seems to have been mapped out for this day.”

1996: Cast and crew of “Homicide.” The Sun said “Homicide” was so true that “a real fleeing shoplifter ran onto a film location and surrendered to actors.”


1997: Nancy Grasmick, Del. Howard “Pete” Rawlings and Walter Sondheim. The Sun recognized the three people who made possible a landmark agreement to provide higher funding for Baltimore schools.

1998: Peter G. Angelos. The Sun said the attorney could easily be Marylander of the Decade. “Few have given such philanthropy, and very few have tried to exercise such influence.”

1999: Freeman Hrabowski. UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski III earned the 1999 award for “nurturing excellence in mathematics and science among African-American men.”

2000: Bill Struever. The Sun honored developer Bill Struever because he “adopts buildings that others have discarded” and helps them fulfill a potential he sees in them.

2001: The Ravens. The Ravens won the Super Bowl and (collectively) Marylander of the Year in 2001.

2002: John Waters. “Hairspray” became a Broadway smash, and John Waters became Marylander of the Year.


Editor’s note: The Sun shelved Marylander of the Year for the next decade, thinking it had run its course. But why let a good idea go to waste?

2012: Buck Showalter. The Sun resumed honoring Marylanders of the Year in 2012 with the Orioles manager who helped bring the team back to the postseason for the first time in 15 years.

2013: Ben Jealous. The NAACP head was instrumental in Maryland’s decisions to abolish the death penalty and enact marriage equality.

2014: Larry Hogan. The Republican’s improbable win in the governor’s race “upended our notions about political campaigns and shook up the state’s power structure in a way that will have lasting impact.”

2015: Barbara Mikulski. The longest-serving woman in Congress “has always had an uncommonly good ear for what the common man and woman thinks and … repeating it to the powers-that-be.”

2016: Kevin Plank. The Under Armour CEO was recognized for his bold plan to remake Port Covington — and his willingness to work with the community on job opportunities and affordable housing.


2017: Erricka Bridgeford. The co-founder of the CeaseFire movement sparked hope that we can make Baltimore a less violent, more peaceful place.

2018: Staff of the Annapolis Capital Gazette. After its newsroom was the site of the deadliest attack on American journalists in history, the staff bravely “put out a damn paper” the next day.

2019: Elijah Cummings. Even as his health quietly faded, the congressman from Maryland’s 7th Congressional District never stopped fighting for Maryland nor urging us toward our better selves.

2020: Kathleen Neuzil and front-line workers. In this unusual pandemic year, we chose two winners: Dr. Neuzil for being a leading vaccine researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and front-line workers in the health care and service industries, who saved lives and preserved our quality of life amid stay home orders.

2021: Maryland’s 24 health officers. The second year of the pandemic took a particular toll, with 2021 deaths surpassing 2020′s and misinformation abounding amid politicization of the virus. Through it all, Maryland health officers acted with a unity of public health purpose under trying and exhausting circumstances.

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