Cancer center gala highlights Hopkins' drive

Building named to honor Kimmel, $150 million gift

Goal of campaign is $2 billion

Plans call for renovations, increase in financial aid

May 05, 2002|By Maria Blackburn and Michael Stroh | Maria Blackburn and Michael Stroh,SUN STAFF

Using the dedication of its new cancer center as a backdrop, the Johns Hopkins University and Medical Center launched the most ambitious fund-raising effort in its history, a $2 billion drive that is expected to reshape the university and help keep it on the cutting edge of research.

Johns Hopkins' plans go beyond the reconstruction of its 52-acre medical campus - they include hundreds of millions of dollars for uses as diverse as renovations at the Homewood campus and more financial aid for students.

The fund-raising campaign, which has been quietly under way since July 2000, has already raised more than one-third of the university's goal, or more than $728 million. The drive is expected to run until 2007, officials said.

The cornerstone of the campaign is a $150 million donation from New York clothing industry billionaire Sidney Kimmel. Yesterday the university held a splashy ceremony at its East Baltimore medical campus to dedicate the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and to honor Kimmel for his philanthropy.

Kimmel's gift, announced in November, is the largest in Johns Hopkins history and is believed to be one of the largest gifts in the nation dedicated to cancer.

"It is a source of enormous personal pride that I, a taxi driver's son from Philly, can see my name so prominently displayed here," said Kimmel, the chairman of Jones Apparel Group. "Of course, there is ego, but it is so much more for me."

Kimmel, 74, did not graduate from Johns Hopkins, has never been treated for cancer, and has no personal ties to Baltimore. His interest in cancer and in the area began when a close friend's 25-year-old daughter died from sarcoma at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Over the past nine years, Kimmel's nonprofit foundation has donated millions of dollars and has endowed three other cancer centers named after him in Philadelphia, San Diego and New York. Kimmel said he chose Hopkins for his $150 million donation because it had "the best research has to offer."

He received two standing ovations during the dedication ceremony, which coincided with an event for cancer survivors and their families. He appeared moved when he was presented with a large collage created by 10 children whose lives had been affected by cancer.

The newly named cancer center is just the first of many changes that Hopkins officials say will likely emerge from the $2 billion fund-raising campaign.

The money will be funneled into an array of projects throughout the university. The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences will receive $250 million and the Whiting School of Engineering $150 million. Another $100 million will be divided among the Peabody Institute, the Johns Hopkins University Press, the Sheridan Libraries and other departments.

Projects include an expansion of the Peabody Institute, which is under way, and a major renovation of the landmark Gilman Hall on the Homewood campus. Completed in 1915, Gilman was the university's first major academic building.

Money will also be used to boost the endowment for student financial aid and named professorships, said Robert R. Lindgren, vice president of development and alumni relations at the university.

The rest of the money - $1.5 billion - will go to the East Baltimore campus. The School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Hospital will receive $1 billion, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health $500 million.

Plans call for the construction of 2.2 million square feet of space over the next decade on the East Baltimore campus, including research laboratories and care facilities for children and cardiovascular patients. Some buildings on the aging campus will be demolished or renovated, and a new, grand main entrance to the complex will be built on Orleans Street, facing the reinvigorated waterfront.

Coupled with the city's plans for an $800 million biotechnology park in the neighborhood, Hopkins' construction projects over the next 10 years are likely to be the most significant for the East Baltimore campus in decades, officials said.

The audience at yesterday's dedication included a number of celebrities from the worlds of politics, business and medicine, from New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to celebrity cancer survivors such as Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening and ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson.

The day also served as a going-away party of sorts for Bloomberg, who is resigning from the university's board of trustees. Chairman of the board since 1996, Bloomberg said he is keeping an election promise to quit all boards he sits on. He will be replaced as chairman by Raymond A. "Chip" Mason of Legg Mason Inc.

Bloomberg, whose $100 million in gifts to the university makes him the second largest donor after Kimmel, said he will miss being involved in the university's affairs but, if invited, would eagerly return when his political career is over. "I would be the first one standing in line," he said.

Despite the tough economic climate, Hopkins officials are optimistic about their prospects for raising $2 billion - especially if their track record holds. The university's last campaign, which ended in June 2000, had a goal of $900 million but raised $1.52 billion - a Hopkins record.

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