Trustee's $10 million gift to help fund programs in arts, sciences at Hopkins

Unrestricted endowment described as `unique'

May 07, 1999|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

The Johns Hopkins University is using a $10 million gift from trustee J. Barclay Knapp to endow the deanship of its Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

The money will allow the dean, whose position is named after Knapp's late father, James Barclay Knapp, to underwrite programs in the arts and sciences.

"The only restriction on this money is that there can be no restriction," said Herbert L. Kessler, who as current dean is the the first to hold the Knapp deanship.

"Once all the funds are in place, the interest can be used at the discretion of the dean to respond quickly to needs. It's a great program, and it's virtually unique in the country," Kessler said.

Thus far, Kessler said the money is underwriting a program that provides funds for undergraduate research to entering freshmen and another designed to augment salaries in especially competitive fields to retain or attract faculty.

Knapp, 42, is a 1979 graduate of Johns Hopkins who has been a trustee for two years. After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1983, he became one of the founders of Cellular Communications Inc., the first publicly traded cellular telephone company in the country.

That company was sold, and Knapp turned his attention overseas. He is now head of NTL Inc., one of the largest providers of cable and telephone systems in Britain. Knapp lives in Princeton, N.J.

"As much as I like having this money, what I really like is having Barclay as an adviser," Kessler said of Knapp, who is on the committee that recommends how to use the funds.

Knapp's father, who retired as a general in 1972 after 33 years in the Air Force, flew 59 combat missions in Europe during World War II. He was perhaps best known for a 1969 confrontation with a North Korean general after the downing of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane while Knapp was serving as the chief U.N. representative to the Korean armistice talks.

He died this year at the age of 83 shortly after learning of his son's plans to endow the deanship.

Knapp's gift is part of Hopkins' current $1.2 billion fund-raising campaign. Hopkins officials said $1.17 billion has been committed to the campaign, which is scheduled to end in June 2000.

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