It was a quiet, spare and simple moment, a timeout from holiday frenzy. It took place at a quiet, spare and simple place, an austere family plot among the elaborate hilltop monuments at Green Mount Cemetery.
It was an altogether fitting tribute to a quiet, spare and simple, yet tremendously influential, man: Johns Hopkins.
On Dec. 24, several dozen deans, vice presidents, faculty and trustees--joined by Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., and Mayor Kurt Schmoke, among others--gathered at Green Mount to pay respects to Hopkins, the Baltimore merchant who died on Christmas Eve 125 years earlier. His will left $7 million to establish the university and hospital that now bear his name. It was the nation's largest philanthropic bequest to that time.
"We stand here today at the grave of a Quaker man of few words, whose life remained simple and private, but who had the sharp wits to make a fortune, and a large and remarkable vision," said President Emeritus Steven Muller, who represented President William R. Brody at the observance. "We salute once again the life which gave rise to the vision, and the vision that gave rise to The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The Johns Hopkins University," Muller said. "The two institutions born of the life interred here are worthy of their founder and will proudly carry his name and vision for generations to come."
With these words in The Sun on Dec. 25, 1873, Baltimore residents learned of Hopkins' death: "Mr. Johns Hopkins, the merchant, banker and millionaire, whose benefience this community is so largely to realize in the future, died at 3:45 o'clock yesterday morning, at his residence No. 81 Saratoga street, in the seventy-ninth year of age."
The entire obituary can be found on JHUniverse at http://www.jhu.edu/~gazette/1999/jan0499/obit.html.