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  Johns Hopkins under Brody:
Bigger, Richer, More Diverse

Had you stretched out on the lawn of the upper quad in 1996, slipped into a Rip Van Winklesque nap, and just now awakened, you might look around and say to yourself, Wow, the place looks bigger. And richer. And more diverse. Prettier too. And you would be right. As William R. Brody puts in his last few weeks in the president's office of Johns Hopkins, he can rightfully describe the university as burgeoning: not without problems, not without disagreements, not without concerns for the future, but with more students, more facilities, more money, more divisions, more prestige, and more varied academic pursuits.

Thousands of people have contributed to Hopkins' success, and there's no measuring one individual's impact. But Brody likes to speak in terms of leaving a place better off than it was when you came to it, and there's no question Hopkins has grown under his leadership. What's more, he played a significant role in fostering an institutional ethos of engaging with the daunting problems that face the university and Baltimore.

In 2000, Brody established the Urban Health Institute to bring Hopkins' research and teaching to bear on improving the health of East Baltimore residents. Three years later, Hopkins became a lead partner in East Baltimore Development Inc., a nonprofit partnership created to redevelop 88 acres near the Hopkins medical campus. The master plan includes a new science and technology park, affordable housing, new retail businesses, parks and playgrounds, the first new Baltimore public elementary/middle school in 30 years, and an array of support services for community residents. Brody also established the Baltimore Scholars Program, which provides four-year, full-tuition scholarships to Baltimore City public school graduates who have earned admission to Hopkins.

On the day Brody retires, the Knowledge for the World campaign will end, having enriched Hopkins' endowment by more than its unprecedented $3.2 billion goal. The university created two new divisions, the School of Education and the Carey Business School. Brody oversaw a building and renovation boom that made construction cranes and hard hats a regular feature of most Hopkins campuses (see page 30). The Homewood campus enacted a master plan that greatly enhanced its appearance. To enhance the education of students on that newly beautified campus, Brody created a university-wide Commission on Undergraduate Education, and in January 2002, charged it with determining what the Hopkins undergraduate experience ought to be and how to make that a reality. To address decades-old problems with gender inequity, Brody directed establishment of the University Committee on the Status of Women, which issued the Vision 2020 report and set an institutional goal of gender equity: by 2015, 50 percent of senior leadership positions held by women, with a 50 percent female faculty by 2020.

Finally, on a lighter note, there was what might be called Brody's Urban Alternative Vehicle Initiative. Each September on freshman move-in day, Brody and his wife, Wendy, greeted new students and parents from a variety of vehicles — by our count, in-line skates three times, scooters five times, compact bicycles twice, and in 2003, Segways. This year, the Brodys outdid themselves, tooling around on totally cool T3 Motion zero-emission vehicles. It was a small thing, but it will be missed. — DK

Go to "Measuring the Unmeasurable"
Go to "One Dozen Brody Years"
Return to November 2008 Table of Contents

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