Investment in education

URBAN LANDSCAPE

Building: The Hodson Trust has promised the Johns Hopkins University $13 million for a multiuse building that will house the trust's archives.

September 02, 1999|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

THE HODSON TRUST, an organization that has provided millions of dollars worth of financial assistance to four Maryland colleges and universities since 1920, promised this summer to give $13 million so the Johns Hopkins University can construct a new multiuse building on its Homewood campus.

The four-story, 50,000-square-foot building will contain state-of-the art classrooms, a board of trustees meeting room and a conference room.

It also will contain the archives of the Hodson Trust, which was created by Maryland lawyer and state Sen. Thomas Hodson to support education in Maryland. The trust is headed by Chairman Finn M. W. Caspersen, who was chairman and CEO of the New Jersey-based Beneficial Corp. from 1976 until it merged with Household International in 1998.

Hopkins President William R. Brody said the university is grateful for the gift and honored to be the repository of the Hodson Trust archives.

"In this way," Brody said, "we will help preserve the heritage of the Hodson Trust, its association with Finn Caspersen and the Beneficial Corp., and their innovative and dedicated leadership in American education and business."

The assets of the Hodson Trust came from founder Thomas Hodson's son, Clarence, a lawyer and banker who established the Beneficial Loan Society in 1914 to make small loans to working-class Americans. The society became Beneficial Corp.

Its merger last year with Household International created the largest consumer credit company in the United States.

A colonel in the Maryland Militia, Clarence Hodson was involved with Washington College in Maryland as a benefactor and member of its Board of Visitors and Governors.

After he died in 1928, his family and the Hodson Trust expanded its support of education by making gifts to Hood College, Hopkins and St. John's College.

Since its founding, the Hodson Trust has given more than $84 million for merit scholarships, research grants, technology improvements, building construction, library expansion, athletic programs and endowments at the four Maryland institutions.

During Finn Caspersen's chairmanship, the market capitalization of Beneficial Corp. grew from $480 million to $8.8 billion. The 18-fold increase greatly helped the Hodson Trust, whose assets were invested in Beneficial stock. Caspersen is now chairman and CEO of Knickerbocker LLC, a private investment firm.

"In the tradition of Clarence Hodson, who generated hundreds of thousands of dollars from a $100 beginning, the trust continues to multiply, with a multibillion-dollar goal in sight early in the next millennium," Caspersen said.

The name and location of the proposed Hopkins building and its construction schedule are still being determined by the university and Hodson Trust. The building is an element of the new master plan for the Homewood campus that is being developed by Ayers Saint Gross Inc. of Baltimore.

The Hodson Trust's gift, which is expected to cover the full cost of the new building, counts toward the Johns Hopkins Initiative, which had commitments of $1.269 billion as of July 31.

The campaign, which recently exceeded its increased goal of $1.2 billion, is scheduled to conclude in June 2000 and will continue to focus on the school's needs, particularly student aid, the libraries and facilities.

Hopkins to open parking lot at site of old Eastern High

Part of the old Eastern High School property at 33rd Street and Ellerslie Avenue in Baltimore will reopen Tuesday as satellite parking for the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in East Baltimore.

Hopkins acquired the property from the city more than a year ago for redevelopment and has begun to renovate the former high school. The adjacent lot has space for 750 cars and is the third satellite parking facility for the medical institutions. Hopkins is repaving it and adding lighting, fencing, landscaping and a canopied waiting area at a cost of more than $500,000. The lot will be open from 5: 30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday. Shuttle service to the medical campus will be provided every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day.

To provide even more parking to serve its East Baltimore campus, Hopkins plans to break ground in November for a 1,500-space garage on Caroline Street between McElderry and Monument streets. Design Collective of Baltimore is the architect for the garage, which is expected to cost approximately $18 million and take 16 to 24 months to complete.

Fells Point restaurant goes on auction block

A large restaurant in the heart of Fells Point will go on the auction block at noon Sept. 21 in a sale that A. J. Billig Auctioneers is conducting on behalf of the property owner, Martin Seafood Co. The three-level building at 606 S. Broadway was formerly home of Something Fishy and, later, Baltimore Jack, but is not open for business. The sale includes the restored building, furniture, equipment and a seven-day liquor license.

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