Ambitious Johns Hopkins

October 01, 1994

The $450 million, five-year fund-raising campaign that the Johns Hopkins University announced exactly ten years ago was briefly the largest university drive in the nation. The campaign now announced, for exactly double that goal, $900 million, is not. It's like pole vaulting. They keep raising the standard.

This campaign is culmination to years of strategic planning by the entire university. The purpose is to sit on no laurels but rather to anticipate the future in order to make the Johns Hopkins University as essential to the world and Central Maryland in the 21st century, when the campaign ends, as it has been in the 19th and 20th.

Though the reach of the university will increasingly be international, and the fund-raising through alumni and foundations is national, Central Maryland has an enormous stake in the success of the ambitious goals.

The Johns Hopkins University is Baltimore's largest employer. It beats Fort McHenry and even the Orioles as what Baltimore is world-famous for. With expansion of its centers at downtown Baltimore, Columbia, Shady Grove and Washington, JHU is playing an ever-larger role in continuing part-time education of adult Marylanders. Half of all people enrolled fit that category.

Of the goal, a comparatively large 58 percent, or $525 million, is earmarked for capital expansion in buildings and the endowment. The latter presently stands at about $725 million, which ranks 21st in the country for a university that ranks higher in reputation and excellence.

Fortunately, the campaign jumps off from the strength of one the world's great recent philanthropies, the $50 million endowment pledge of the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund announced in 1992 for arts and sciences. This underwrites professorships and counts as part of the $900 million total.

Another majestic gift is the pledge by R. Champlin Sheridan and Debbie Sheridan of $20 million for endowment and renovation of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library on the Homewood campus. This will bring the library fully into the electronic age as a center for research in arts and sciences. Mr. Sheridan, a Hopkins alumnus and printing company magnate in Hanover, Pa., and Mrs. Sheridan have previously made substantial gifts to the library.

Other large components of the campaign will benefit cancer care in the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the quality of undergraduate student life at Homewood, international studies, engineering and public health. The ambition of the campaign and generosity of far-seeing philanthropists will insure that Johns Hopkins is equipped to maintain its indispensable contributions to the world, which also enrich its home town beyond calculation.

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