Gift to Johns Hopkins

December 22, 1992

The generous $50 million gift of Zanvyl Krieger to the Johns Hopkins University is strategically directed toward insuring the university's eminence into the next century. It is targeted where the university is weakest: the financial underpinning of arts and sciences. These are the disciplines, though low in donor appeal, that are at the heart of what makes a university a university and not merely a collection of professional schools.

This gift will never be visible to casual passersby. It provides no bricks and mortar, and no new programs. All $50 million will help pay for the university to do better what it is doing now. Almost all of it will pay people, in faculty salaries and student aid. That will help Johns Hopkins to continue to attract the best of both.

Mr. Krieger, a Hopkins alumnus (Class of '28) whose legal career in Baltimore is into its seventh decade, is deeply involved in Johns Hopkins affairs. The Kennedy Krieger Institute for handicapped children and the Krieger Mind-Brain Institute testify $12.5 million in previous gifts. This time, Mr. Krieger gave where financial weakness invisible to the public had caused stress within the university community. It needed to be addressed. This is the hardest kind of a gift for any university to attract. Yet it is what this university needs most.

The Johns Hopkins endowment stands at $639 million, and last year was 21st in the nation. This is not large for a university of its scope and reputation. It pays only 3 percent of the budget. Most is earmarked for the medical side. The School of Arts and Sciences, whose endowment is only $130 million, has been operating at a deficit which it must end. Increasing the student body brought in more tuition but reduced the endowment-per-student.

To address this dilemma, the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund will match other gifts, at 1-to-1, up to $10 million a year for five years. So it is a $50 million gift to bring in $100 million, all for unrestricted endowment in arts and sciences. This is a landmark in Johns Hopkins history. Development staffers know of just five gifts in American higher education that have been greater, and five others that are equal. Its purpose is to attract much more. The likelihood is that at the end of five years, the arts and sciences endowment will be considerably greater than $230 million.

Aside from its academic value, this gift also shores up the Maryland economy. Johns Hopkins is the state's third largest private employer and generates $2.7 billion income in Maryland. So while Marylanders will not see a new building or activity, and while the university's only visible acknowledgment will be creation of ten Zanvyl Krieger/Milton S. Eisenhower Distinguished Professorships, this generous gift enriches all Baltimore and Maryland. It fortifies the Homewood campus so it can continue to live up to the awesome responsibility of being the Johns Hopkins University.

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