Hopkins is pledged $10 million

Gift from Hyman Construction head to go to engineering school

May 06, 2008|By Gadi Dechter | Gadi Dechter,Sun reporter

Construction magnate A. James Clark has pledged $10 million to endow the deanship of Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering, his second $10 million gift to the private Baltimore college and the latest in his string of multimillion donations to Maryland schools.

"This really is fabulous for the school," said Hopkins' engineering Dean Nicholas P. Jones. "The revenue generated from this commitment can be used to do exactly what any dean would love to do, and that is make investments in promising ideas and opportunities, whether in research or education."

Clark's gift will establish the Benjamin T. Rome deanship in the engineering school, in honor of a construction executive and Hopkins graduate who hired Clark after he graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1950. In the late 1960s, Clark, 80, of Easton succeeded Rome as head of the George Hyman Construction Co. Rome died in 1994.

"I owe much of my success, and the success of our business, to Ben," Clark said in a statement. "He was a great friend and teacher, and I am honored to be able to memorialize his name at his alma mater."

Clark, a former member of Hokpins' board of trustees, is chairman and chief executive at Bethesda-based Clark Enterprises, which includes Clark Construction Group, a company that has managed numerous construction projects on Maryland college campuses. Clark Construction is currently involved in building a $725 million clinical facility for Johns Hopkins Health System in East Baltimore, the largest hospital project in Maryland history. Clark Construction also managed the building of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the Washington Convention Center.

Clark is a long-time benefactor of the University of Maryland, College Park and of Hopkins, with a history of gifts to engineering programs. In 1994, he gave $15 million to the University of Maryland, College Park, resulting in the renaming of its engineering school as the A. James Clark School of Engineering. In 2005, Clark gave his alma mater an additional $30 million, for scholarships for engineering students.

Previously at Hopkins, Clark pledged $10 million in 1998 toward the construction of a biomedical engineering and research building on the Homewood campus. Clark Hall opened in 2001.

His most recent gift goes toward Hopkins' $3.2 billion capital campaign goal, which passed the $3.1 billion mark by the end of April, campus officials said. The campaign ends in December.

gadi.dechter@baltsun.com

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