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Editor: Philip Tang, A&S '95
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Twice a year, Marc Lieberman makes a month-long pilgrimage
to Tibet, where he trains teams of local doctors to perform
cataract and lens implant surgery on hundreds of blind
Tibetans. Lieberman is the founder and director of the
Tibet Vision Project, and his goal is crystal clear: to
eradicate preventable blindness in Tibet by 2020.
|Through the Tibet Vision Project, Marc Lieberman (left) has restored sight to about 2,500 Tibetans, who have been "literally blinded by the very light that is a feast for all of our eyes when we go there," he says.||
Lieberman, a glaucoma specialist and clinical professor at
the University of California San Francisco, will return to
Tibet this month on the 10th anniversary of the project's
founding. With an annual budget of $50,000 and no more than
one accompanying volunteer, each trip is an achievement in
"We get in Land Cruisers and bounce our kidneys for two, three, four days, traveling in the middle of nowhere, and we'll arrive in rural Tibet, hundreds of miles from cities," he says. Once there, his team of Tibetan surgeons will perform 100 to 150 operations over three days.
According to Lieberman, roughly 4 percent of Tibetans over age 40 are blind from cataracts, a leading cause of preventable blindness in many developing countries. At an elevation of 15,000 feet, Tibet — "the rooftop of the world" — endures the added burden of high ultraviolet radiation. "They are literally blinded by the very light that is a feast for all of our eyes when we go there," he says.
In Visioning Tibet, a new documentary about the doctor and his decade-long project, he explains, "The path that led me to Tibet is a journey I've been on all my life."
Growing up in Jewish Baltimore, Lieberman was profoundly influenced by his father, Alfred T. Lieberman, a doctor at Johns Hopkins. Nevertheless, the younger Lieberman didn't take a science class until after he had graduated from Reed College, where he majored in religion, and had moved to Israel to pursue a PhD in biblical studies.
"When they told me how many languages I had to learn — and that I didn't know — I figured I could be a doctor by the time I'd be a rabbi," says Lieberman. He walked across the street and took his first basic science class at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
In 1972, Lieberman was admitted — "miraculously," he jokes — to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "I think they took five former hippies just to season the class," he says. After a residency at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute and a fellowship at U.C. San Francisco, he was invited to teach glaucoma treatment at an eye hospital in India. And that, he says, "is when the page turned."
"Once I got there in 1981, I saw how medicine was practiced, or at least how I imagined it could be," Lieberman says of India. "The hospitals were these extraordinarily clean and efficient and beautiful temples of devotion."
Back in San Francisco, Lieberman became increasingly drawn to the Buddhist community. He began intense meditation practices, going on retreats lasting 10 days to three months. In 1989, he learned that the Dalai Lama would be traveling to the United States and was interested in learning more about the Jewish faith. So Lieberman assembled a dream team of rabbis and scholars to give Tibet's exiled spiritual leader a crash course in Judaism. During that first meeting — and in a subsequent meeting in Dharamsala, India — Lieberman took private vows with the Dalai Lama to help the Tibetan people in any way he could. In 1995, he founded the Tibet Vision Project.
To date, the project has trained about 18 Tibetan surgeons and restored sight to approximately 2,500 Tibetans. Lieberman's surgical students can now operate eye camps without him, and only on rare occasions does he perform a surgical procedure himself.
For Lieberman, the project's greatest obstacle has been the Chinese health care system, in which profit-making remains the primary incentive. "They won't do cataract camps without me unless, for example, I've left enough money or enough lens implants and supplies for them to go do it, because the health authorities aren't going to subsidize them," he says.
"The bigger question is how to integrate this service into a service for poor people who can't afford it," says Lieberman. "In Tibet, which is a very special, politically frozen area, the kind of economic initiative that would allow for philanthropic cost-recovery eye programs to subsidize care for the needy isn't encouraged. I don't know how to solve that problem, but we'll just keep on training doctors — it's a good start." —Philip Tang, A&S '95
Even in New York City, it's easy to spot Carol Haynes in a crowd. She's the one who's 23 feet off the ground, swinging from a trapeze.
Becoming a trapeze aerialist was a life-changing adventure for Haynes, who lives and works in Manhattan. She used to be afraid of heights and never dreamed she would "take the bar and fly." Then one Friday night, while photographing the Hudson River skyline just for fun, she discovered the Trapeze School New York. Students doing a "catch" at the school ended up in one of her photos. Interested in writing a story about the school to accompany her photos, which she planned to submit to a magazine, Haynes signed up for a class.
"My intent was to take one class only," she recalls. "I was
shaking, white, petrified-but then I swung, and it was so
great. I was hooked and had to keep going back. It's truly
|Photo by Carol Haynes||
"The trapeze is one of the few places where you can push
your personal boundaries in such a safe way," she explains.
"By choosing to confront fear and push your body and mind
further than you thought they could go, you acquire more
confidence in other aspects of your life . . . and that
makes everything you do more meaningful and successful."
Now an accomplished aerialist, Haynes performs at several venues, most recently with a dance company at a Brooklyn warehouse specially rigged for solo trapeze aerialists.
"Being in New York has fostered a real sense of confidence that I can do anything, go anywhere," explains the Georgia native. Since moving to the Big Apple in 2001, Haynes has established a successful freelance Web design business and is now pursuing a long-term interest in writing, all while working part-time as a senior interface developer with Bridgeline Software. In addition to traveling-Spain, Ecuador, and Prague are recent destinations-she serves on the board of the Stanton Street Settlement, a nonprofit that provides free programs and services to the children from New York's Lower East Side. —Marlene England
Practically Profound: Putting Philosophy to Work in Everyday Life, by James Hall, A&S 55, Rowman & Littlefield (2005).
Readers with a philosophical bent have the means here of honing that turn into a coherent system of thought that can overcome, or at least intensely irritate, debaters down the line who are less culturally epistemic. If I have the terminology right — your reviewer's mind wanders at the first use of the word "paradigm" — this is 312 pages of the real McCoy in applied philosophy. The author's intentions are honorable, but the leitmotiv is inescapable: No argument is safe, no matter how safely nurtured in its own context.
A leading woman named Promise transports the Washington
novel from the typical setting in Capitol Hill's back rooms
to an Asian art museum on the Mall. The feet of these
denizens of the nonprofit D.C. world turn out to be as
firmly planted in clay as those of the politicos and
lobbyists. Action does range outside the Beltway when a
departing director leads an archaeological junket to Asia
and is kidnapped. Promise becomes pregnant just as she's
named acting director, but it's the priceless bowl that
keeps the plot together even as the ceramic falls into
Laura McInerney never has to worry about computer problems. She has 20 highly trained computer geeks at her beck and call.
In 2003, a year after earning her master of science in
marketing from Johns Hopkins
School of Professional
in Business and Education, McInerney purchased a
for Geeks on Call, one of the nation's leading providers of
on-site computer repair and support. The company was
founded in 1999, initially serving the Norfolk and Virginia
Beach areas in Virginia. The response was so positive that
the company offered its first franchise in 2001. Today,
there are approximately 320 independently owned franchises
operating in 20 states.
|Laura McInerney and her team of "Geeks on Call" can be spotted in their signature Chrylser PT Cruisers.||
McInerney now operates 15, making her the owner of the
greatest number of Geeks on Call franchises in the United
States. Headquartered in Columbia, where McInerney lives,
her franchises stretch from west and north of Baltimore to
the state's capital city of Annapolis.
Her team of 20 employees provides troubleshooting, maintenance, upgrades, networking, and even training and consulting for computer users at their homes or businesses. Always on the road in Chrysler PT Cruisers emblazoned with the company logo, McInerney's team hardly fits the stereotypical, pen-in-pocket-protector computer geek image.
"We don't wear the glasses or act corny when we're on calls," she laughs. "It's all professional." Employees must be equally strong in technical ability and communication skills, plus they must be experienced, pass background checks, and have a good driving record.
"The clients like our quick, competent response," McInerney says. "We get to be the heroes a lot, and that's fun and very rewarding."
Although she spends most of her time behind the scenes doing everything from accounting to coaching to sales, McInerney occasionally goes out on the front lines. When an especially disastrous computer virus hit last year, McInerney was quick to pitch in, packing up her virus removal tools and providing Geeks on Call's trademark lightning-fast service — on the same day or the next day from when clients call.
Before entering the world of Geeks on Call, McInerney had spent most of her professional career with a telecommunications firm, starting as a software engineer and then transitioning into telecom product marketing, where she guided the revenue growth of a product line from $30 million to more than $150 million.
The company declared bankruptcy in 2001, and — equipped with the real-world experience and solid educations from University of Florida and Johns Hopkins — McInerney was ready for something different. Attending a franchise fair presented her with a myriad of possibilities.
McInerney discovered early on that franchising varies widely from company to company. People tend to think that all franchises are standardized like a McDonald's, she says, but nothing could be further from the truth. Geeks on Call offers strong support in bringing clients to the franchise, but it's up to the owner to do the rest.
"There are no pre-packaged systems that tell you how many sesame seeds to put on the bun," she explains. "You have a lot to do on your own. My background of formal education and on-the-job experience has been a big help."
Having a strong professional network is another plus to succeeding in the franchise world. McInerney serves on the board of directors for the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and is active in other business associations. "You meet so many smart people who can help you grow along the way," she advises. "You just have to ask — people are so inclined to help."
McInerney, who turns 35 this year, plans to continue with Geeks on Call and is even contemplating growth to different states. "I'd like to stay with this business. It's successful and sustainable, and with the wonderful team we have there's no reason not to grow in other places." —ME
World-renowned cardiac surgeon Denton Cooley is approaching his 85th birthday. Close on the heels of that achievement is another milestone — the 50th anniversary of his first use of the cardio-pulmonary bypass in April 1956.
Five decades ago, in his lab at the Methodist Hospital in
Houston, Cooley was busy perfecting the bubble oxygenator,
a device that adds oxygen to blood during open-heart
surgery. In lab experiments with animals, this early heart-
lung machine had shown only limited success, and no human
trials were planned.
Cardiac surgeon Denton Cooley has performed more
open-heart operations than any other surgeon, including
more than 20 human heart transplants.
Photo © Texas Heart Institute
That changed when Cooley heard about a colleague's dying patient. The patient's prognosis — less than 72 hours to live — was so dire that Cooley agreed to attempt the cardio-pulmonary bypass. The man's life was saved, and a new era in cardiac surgery had begun.
This, however, was just one of many landmark events in Cooley's career. As a 24-year-old Johns Hopkins intern in 1944, he was on the surgical team for Alfred Blalock's groundbreaking "blue baby" operation.
"I always thought that operation was the dawn of modern heart surgery, and I was privileged to be a witness," Cooley recalls.
After Hopkins and two years in the military, Cooley served with famed heart surgeon Lord Russell Brock, assisting with the first intra-cardiac operations in England. In 1951, Cooley returned to his native Houston to work at the Baylor College of Medicine. He founded the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in 1962 and became the institute's surgeon-in-chief, a position he holds to this day.
Widely considered the world's most experienced cardiac surgeon, Cooley performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States and the first implantation of an artificial heart in a human. He has pioneered numerous surgical techniques for coronary bypasses, the repair and replacement of diseased heart valves, and the repair of congenital heart anomalies in infants and children.
And Cooley's not finished yet. The man who's been honored by two U.S. presidents and received multitudinous awards and commendations from around the world continues to come to work five days a week and perform a limited number of operations. He makes time for family — his wife Louise of 56 years, five daughters, and 16 grandchildren — and enjoys a good game of golf. —ME
John O. Agwunobi, SPH '04, was recently nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as assistant secretary of health and human services. A pediatrician, Agwunobi also holds an MBA and currently serves as the secretary and state health officer at the Florida Department of Health. In October 2001, Agwunobi led the department's response to the nation's first-ever anthrax attack.
Martin Gould, SPSBE '85, was recently promoted to director of research and technology for the National Council on Disability. An independent federal agency, NCD makes recommendations to the president and Congress to enhance the quality of life for all Americans with disabilities.
President Bush has nominated Wan Kim, A&S '90, to head the Justice Department's civil rights division. Kim has worked in the civil rights division since 2003. If confirmed by the Senate, he will become the first Korean-American and the first naturalized citizen to serve in the top civil rights post.
In July, Bonnie Schwartz, A&S '01, a financial analyst, successfully swam the English Channel in 13 hours and 28 minutes. "I was cold and nauseous, and I tore my shoulder about eight hours into it, but I finished the swim. It was the most mentally and physically challenging task I have ever attempted — what an intense experience!" says Schwartz.
To say that Federico Minoli is just a businessman is a
little like saying that a Ducati is just a bike.
|Ducati CEO Federico Minoli is known for riding a Multistrada (pictured below) to work.||
Sure, the racing-inspired motorcycles — known as
"Ferraris on two wheels" — are some of the fastest
and most technically advanced motorcycles in the world.
They're also pretty much the sexiest, sleekest, and most
desired. (Their almost mythical status is such that the
producers of The Matrix leased bikes from Ducati for
film, when other motorcycle companies would have been happy
to pay for the exposure.)
Minoli, Ducati's president and CEO, has earned similarly mythical status among Italian business managers. His globe- trotting lifestyle has taken him across the Atlantic more than 350 times. And the Italian press continually mistakes him for an American — his English is perfect, his wife is from Boston, and he favors blue jeans at the office.
Minoli's reputation as an international business heavyweight is well-deserved. In addition to his role as head of Ducati, he also heads Escada, an international fashion house, and Uno a Erre, the Italian world leader in gold jewelry. In his spare time, Minoli serves on the boards of Bally International, Mantero Seta, Sundari, and other organizations.
Growing up in Gallarate, Italy, in the 1960s, Minoli was drawn to politics, not bus--i-ness. His destiny changed in high school. "I had the opportunity to go on a National Youth Exchange to San Francisco through the local Lions Club," he recalls. "I had never traveled so far from home, and this had a major impact on me."
His love affair with America continued at the University of Pavia, so he talked the school into letting him attend the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies' Bologna Center for his final year in 1973. After graduation, Minoli's understanding of American culture and language helped him land a job with Procter & Gamble in Rome. He moved on to Playtex International, where he was the first and youngest non-American vice president of international marketing, before landing at McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm. There he absorbed unorthodox lessons in business from the likes of Luciano Benetton, a founder of the international clothing manufacturer. At McKinsey, Minoli's management philosophy evolved.
"Being a consultant is boring after a while," he says. "You work with your brain but have atrophy of your heart and hands and passion. In a company you work with your heart and hands but not your brain. I wanted to move back and forth between these two worlds so I could develop all three."
Minoli finally found that opportunity in 1995 when Texas Pacific Group (TPG) asked him to help evaluate a financially troubled Italian motorcycle company targeted for acquisition. TPG took over Ducati the following year and put Minoli in charge of the company's restructuring. His first move: Build a museum on the main floor of the corporate headquarters.
Although there was a leak in the factory roof, the museum took priority. "That sent a clear message," he recalls. Employees understood that the new CEO intended to build on the company's heritage, not on the physical plant.
"When you take over a company you have a 100-day honeymoon to show people what you can do," Minoli emphasizes. "If you don't prove yourself then, you won't succeed. My plan was to take Ducati from metal mechanics to entertainment, from motorcycles to motorcycling."
According to Minoli, museum building was really about myth building, which helped capitalize on Ducati's uniqueness.
Minoli brought in new blood to work with the engineers at Ducati. He built a Web site that receives 8 million visitors a year. And he created World Ducati Weekend to strengthen the relationship between the company and its customers — or, as he prefers to call them, "fans." The first World Ducati Weekend was held in 1998; the latest, in the spring of 2004, hosted 45,000 motorcycles.
Minoli left Ducati in 2000 after four years at the throttle. In his absence, company performance faltered, and TPG summoned him back in 2003. In spite of the weak global economy and the price disadvantage of a strong euro, Minoli has managed to increase sales and strengthen accessories as a source of revenue.
"I think of myself as a shaman," he says, with a conviction that has charmed brokers and bikers alike. "Shamans dream of building communities. The challenge for Ducati is to convert this 'share of the dream' — the desire to be part of the world of Ducati — into a share of the market." —Claudia Flisi, Bol '71, SAIS '75
Next spring, the Johns Hopkins Knowledge for the World campaign will — quite literally — take the show on the road, visiting six cities across the country. Between March and June, alumni and friends in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and Boston will get the chance to reconnect with Hopkins through a program that examines contemporary issues and shares stories of discovery.
Events in each city will provide an insider's view of Hopkins people at work today — tackling some of society's thorniest challenges — and a glimpse of the breakthroughs they see on the horizon. The program will also illuminate the role philanthropy plays in fueling their advancements.
With two years remaining in the seven-year Knowledge for the World campaign, Hopkins is nearing its $2 billion goal. Yet critical needs remain, including a more robust endowment for attracting stellar students and faculty and constructing essential buildings on the East Baltimore and Homewood campuses.
"We are trying to connect with our constituents by reaching out in a new and compelling way," says Fritz Schroeder, associate vice president for development and alumni relations. "Our faculty and alumni are on the frontiers in nearly every field. This is an opportunity for us to celebrate and showcase the unique and vital role Hopkins plays in taking on some of the most pressing issues of our time. It's also an opportunity for us to invite our friends and alumni to join us in moving Johns Hopkins forward."
The afternoon segment of the launch events will feature a selection of panel discussions and lectures with prominent faculty and alumni. Session topics will vary from city to city, and guests at each venue will be invited to choose two sessions to attend. The evening program will showcase Hopkins people solving problems and delivering value from Baltimore to Bangladesh.
The events will also celebrate people in each city whose philanthropy is enabling the kinds of achievements the program is featuring. "We want to recognize those people who have invested in Hopkins and to help attendees understand how giving makes a difference," Schroeder says. "We also want to inspire them as to the role they can play. The event, we hope, is merely the catalyst. The campaign really begins when the evening is over and people look for ways to deepen their connection to Hopkins."
A key feature of the regional campaign is the volunteer structure supporting it. A regional campaign council has been formed in each city to reach out to local members of the Johns Hopkins community and to help launch the campaign.
"Hopkins dearly needs to broaden support from alumni and friends throughout the country, and we welcome the regional volunteers who are stepping up to lead the way," says Barclay Knapp, A&S '79, university trustee and chairman of the regional campaign. "The regional councils will bring the 'Hopkins story' to many more alumni and friends, more frequently, and in a way that truly involves and invests them in the future of the university for the long term."
The schedule for the launch events is March 11, San Francisco; March 25, Los Angeles; April 8, Philadelphia; April 22, Chicago; May 6, New York City; and June 10, Boston. Alumni and friends in those metropolitan areas will receive information on the events in their cities as the dates approach.
To learn more about the events or opportunities for getting involved in the Knowledge for the World campaign, contact the office of regional and international programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-516-4886. —Brian Shields
Members of the Class of 1975 gather for their 30th reunion dinner outside the Mattin Center, named in honor of Trustee Christina Mattin, pictured third from left, front row.
Rick Carr, Engr '78, president of the Alumni Association, presents the Class of 2005 with their official class banner.
Dick Howell and Al Sinsky get crabby at the Class of 1955's 50th reunion crab feast at Harborview Marina in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
University President William R. Brody presents Robert Denby with a commemorative medallion during the Class of 1955 50th reunion dinner.
Nolan Love, Adriano Blanco, Rebecca Freedman, and Juri Pyun Schauermann gather outside the Space Telescope Science Institute, where 150 members, friends, and family of the Class of 1995 celebrated their 10th reunion.
A future JHU alumna gets a lacrosse lesson and a hug from the Johns Hopkins Blue Jay.
Kyle Harrison, A&S '05, led the Blue Jays to a decisive 12- 6 victory over Loyola — and later to an NCAA championship title, the Blue Jays' first in 18 years.
Members of the Class of 2000 returned to campus for their first Johns Hopkins reunion and an exclusive comedy performance by classmate and Last Comic Standing star Dan Ahdoot.
Peabody Celebration 2005: Vinni Penniman, Peab '51, former Peabody Alumni Association president, and husband Doug Penniman enjoy an evening with fellow Peabody alumni at the Mount Vernon Club in Baltimore.
School of Medicine Biennial 2005: Graduates from the School of Medicine classes of 1948 and 1949 gather with Dr. Edward Miller, dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, at the Grand Classes Luncheon on June 2 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. Pictured left to right: Walter Dandy Jr., Med '48; Anne Dandy; William Rienhoff III, Med '49; Grace Rienhoff; Richard Ross, dean emeritus, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Evan Calkins, HS '50; Virginia Brady Calkins, Med '49; Edward Miller, dean and CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Richard Johns, Med '48; Jeremiah Barondess, Med '49; and Worth Daniels Jr., Med '48.
Each year, more than 16,000 alumni pay Alumni Association dues, which provides the lifeblood for the association. Dues make possible this section of Johns Hopkins Magazine, alumni events all over the world, support for student programs, online services, and many other benefits.
The following alumni have chosen to pay lifetime dues — now $1,000. Lifetime dues ensures continued support for the Alumni Association and the longevity of our programs.
We would like to thank the 721 Lifetime Members of the
Johns Hopkins Alumni Association.
Nelson H. Aaron, Engr '80
Last year, the Alumni Association and Sheridan Libraries introduced Hopkins KnowledgeNET. The alumni virtual library is one of only a few such programs available today. The best part: a real-life librarian at your service. Phil Tang asked Patricia Lovett what it's like being a librarian in cyberspace.
What do alumni ask most often?
What are some new resources?
What's the best part of your job?
To browse Hopkins KnowledgeNET and get a one-week free trial of the Enhanced Service, go to www.alumni.jhu.edu/knowledgenet.
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