The Johns Hopkins Gazette: April 19, 1999
Apr. 19, 1999
VOL. 28, NO. 31


Engineering Celebrates 85/20 Years

By Phil Sneiderman
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Festive music, fond memories, an award presentation and a few surprises are on the agenda when Engineering School faculty, alumni and students gather beneath a huge tent on Friday to celebrate not one but two academic milestones.

This double-anniversary event, running from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on the Wyman Quadrangle in front of Maryland Hall, will pay tribute to 85 years of engineering at Johns Hopkins and 20 years since the founding of the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering. This first of two major Engineering anniversary events was timed to coincide with homecoming weekend, which traditionally lures alumni back to the Homewood campus.

The event is free and open to the university community and friends of the Engineering program.

The double-anniversary celebration is designed to call attention to the rich tradition of engineering education at Hopkins, dating back to the opening of Maryland Hall in 1914. The School of Engineering at Hopkins was founded five years later. In 1966, this school merged with the Faculty of Philosophy, creating the School of Arts and Sciences.

Soon, however, some alumni and faculty became concerned that engineering education appeared to diminish in importance under this arrangement. Their efforts led to the establishment in 1979 of a new university division, the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering, supported in part by a gift from the estate of George William Carlyle Whiting, co-founder of the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

The school's current dean, Ilene Busch-Vishniac, appointed a committee earlier this year to plan events that would acknowledge the history of engineering at Hopkins and the role it has played at the university and in the community. The events are also aimed at honoring important participants from Hopkins' engineering history, while engaging the interest of current students and faculty. Finally, the events, one this week and another in November, seek to cast an eye toward the future of engineering and the Whiting School.

"The program this Friday is designed to contribute to most of these goals, with special emphasis on the history of engineering at Hopkins," said Charles R. O'Melia, Abel Wolman Professor of Geography and Environmental Engineering, who is co-chair of the anniversary committee. "We'll be paying tribute to our alumni and key contributors from our past."

At 3:30 p.m., just before the reception begins, a jazz band will set the mood by performing Dixieland music. Participants will then gather beneath the tent for the program.

At 4 p.m., Richard Scott, a member of the dean's staff, will begin the program by leading the audience in a song called "The Johns Hopkins Ode."

Mark Rubenstein, who chairs the Whiting School's National Advisory Council, will then introduce the dean to the audience. Busch-Vishniac will provide a brief welcome and recognize special guests.

The event's master of ceremonies, Robert B. Pond Sr., professor emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, will share some memories about the school, then ask members of the audience to contribute their recollections and thoughts.

Later in the program, a distinguished alumnus award will be presented to G. Guy Knickerbocker, who earned three engineering degrees at Hopkins.

After the program, participants will be invited to enter Maryland Hall to view two new historical tributes: a plaque honoring Engineering professors emeriti and portraits of those who have served as Engineering deans at Hopkins.

For more information, contact Debi Rager at 410-516-5303 or