Johns Hopkins University
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who was Johns Hopkins?
And why the 's'?
A: First things first:
why the extra "S"?
Because his first name was really a last name.
Johns Hopkins' great-grandmother was Margaret Johns, the daughter
of Richard Johns, owner of a 4,000-acre estate in Calvert County,
Md. Margaret Johns married Gerard Hopkins in 1700; one of their
children was named Johns Hopkins.
The second Johns Hopkins, grandson of the first, was born to
Samuel and Hannah Janney Hopkins in 1795 on the family's tobacco
plantation in southern Maryland. His formal education ended in
1807, when his parents, devout Quakers, decided on the basis of
religious conviction to free their slaves and put Johns and his
brother to work in the fields. Johns left home at 17 for
Baltimore and a job in business with an uncle; then, at the age
of 24, he established his own mercantile house.
He was an important investor in the nation's first major
railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, and became a director in 1847
and chairman of its finance committee in 1855.
Hopkins never married; he may have been influenced in planning
for his estate by a friend, philanthropist George Peabody, who
had founded the Peabody Institute in Baltimore in 1857.
In 1867, Hopkins arranged for the incorporation of The Johns
Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and for the
appointment of a 12-member board of trustees for each. He died on
Christmas Eve 1873, leaving $7 million to be divided equally
between the two institutions. It was, at the time, the largest
philanthropic bequest in U.S. history.
Q: How long has Hopkins
A: Since its founding in
Gilman and many of the trustees initially advocated an
all-graduate institution, but they were pressured into admitting
undergraduates during the initial planning stages. Gilman, once
the decision was made, welcomed undergraduates warmly. The first
undergraduate class received their bachelor's degrees in 1879,
first PhDs were awarded in 1878. Until the early 1900s, the
undergraduate course of instruction required only three years to
Q: When did Hopkins first
admit women as graduate students or
A: Although a few women
were admitted as early as 1877, the trustees formally approved
the admission of women to graduate study in 1907. Those admitted
prior to 1907 were considered on a case-by-case basis and usually
had a champion within the faculty or administration to press
their case. It was not until 1969 that the trustees approved the
admission of women to undergraduate studies. The first
undergraduate women entered (as transfer students) in the spring
Q: Is it true that Daniel
Coit Gilman's will required that no building should rise higher
than the Gilman Hall clock tower, or that the clock tower should
not be blocked from view of Charles Street?
A: There is no truth to
Gilman retired from Hopkins in 1901 and died in 1908. He left no
money to the University, nor did he leave any stipulations as to
future construction on the campus. Gilman Hall, constructed
between 1913 and 1915, was named for him to recognize his 25
years service as Hopkins' founding president. The reason the MSE
Library was constructed primarily underground is that a building
of such size, built above ground, would have dwarfed Homewood
House and neighboring classroom buildings. Homewood House, with
its Federal style of architecture, served as the model for
subsequent campus buildings.
Q: What are the names of
Hopkins' past presidents and when did they serve?
- Daniel Coit Gilman / May 1875 - August 1901
- Ira Remsen / September 1901 - January 1913
- Frank Johnson Goodnow / October 1914 - June 1929
- Joseph Sweetman Ames / July 1929 - June 1935
- Isaiah Bowman / July 1935 - December 1948
- Detlev Wulf Bronk / January 1949 - August 1953
- Lowell Jacob Reed / September 1953 - June 1956
- Milton Stover Eisenhower / July 1956 - June 1967
- Lincoln Gordon / July 1967 - March 1971
- M. S. Eisenhower / April 1971 - January 1972
- Steven Muller / February 1972 - June 1990
- William Chase Richardson / July 1990 - July 1995
- Daniel Nathans (interim) / June
1995 - July 1996
- William R. Brody / August 1996 -
Q: Who was the first woman
to receive a degree from Johns Hopkins?
A: This question
requires a two-part
answer. The first woman to earn the PhD was Christine
Ladd-Franklin, who completed her studies in 1882. The trustees
refused to grant her the degree until 1926, however. In the
meantime, Florence Bascom earned and received her PhD in
Q: Who was the first
African-American to attend Hopkins?
A: Kelly Miller was
admitted as a graduate
student in mathematics in 1887. He studied for two years before
leaving, without a degree, in 1889. He subsequently earned
degrees from Howard University and became a prominent educator
and advocate of education for African-American children.
Q: What is the official
A: "Veritas vos
liberabit." "The truth shall
make you free." Quoted from John 8:32.
Q: What are the official
A: The university's
colors are gold and sable. Its athletic colors are
Columbia blue and black.
The majority of these Q&As were provided by James Stimpert,
Johns Hopkins University Archives,
firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone desiring further
information on Hopkins history may contact the Archives.