125th Anniversary of The Johns Hopkins University
125th Anniversary of The Johns Hopkins University
A Brief History of
The Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University opened Feb. 22, 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. "What are we aiming at?" Gilman asked in his installation address. "The encouragement of research ... and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell."

Building from scratch, rather than taking over an existing institution, freed Gilman to create something entirely new, at least in the United States. He established a research university, dedicated not just to advancing students' knowledge but also to advancing the state of human knowledge generally, through research and scholarship.

Gilman dismissed the notion that teaching and research are separate endeavors; he believed that success in one depended on success in the other. "The best teachers are usually those who are free, competent and willing to make original researches in the library and the laboratory," Gilman said. "The best investigators are usually those who have also the responsibilities of instruction, gaining thus the incitement of colleagues, the encouragement of pupils, the observation of the public." The realization of Gilman's philosophy at Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

Hopkins remains a leader, in both teaching and research. The School of Medicine is one of the best anywhere, and the School of Hygiene and Public Health is renowned for contributions worldwide to preventive medicine and the health of large populations. The other divisions, though smaller -- by design -- than similar schools in other institutions, include eminent scholars and numerous highly ranked departments.

In recent years, Johns Hopkins has won more federal research and development funding than any other university. This is due in large measure to the work of the Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of the university devoted entirely to research and development. The School of Medicine, however, is the largest recipient of National Institutes of Health research grants to medical schools. The School of Hygiene and Public Health, the first of its kind in this country, ranks first among public health schools in federal research support.

In all, the university has eight academic divisions. The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the G.W.C Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education are based at the Homewood campus in northern Baltimore. The schools of Medicine, Hygiene and Public Health, and Nursing are in east Baltimore, sharing a campus with The Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Peabody Institute, founded in 1857 and a leading professional school of music, has been affiliated with Johns Hopkins since 1977. It is located on Mount Vernon Place in downtown Baltimore. The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, founded in 1943, has been a Hopkins division since 1950. It is located in Washington, D.C.

The Applied Physics Laboratory is a division of the university co-equal to the eight schools, but with a non-academic mission. APL, located between Baltimore and Washington, is noted for contributions to national security, space exploration and other civilian research and development. It has developed more than 100 biomedical devices, many in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Johns Hopkins has academic facilities in Nanjing, China, and in Bologna and Florence, Italy. It maintains a network of continuing education facilities throughout the Baltimore-Washington area, including centers in downtown Baltimore, in downtown Washington, and in Columbia and Montgomery County, Md.

Office of News and Information
The Johns Hopkins University
January 2000

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