International telephone and cable television entrepreneur J. Barclay Knapp has committed $10 million to endow the deanship of the university's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences in memory of his father.
Income from the endowment will be available to the dean as a sort of academic venture capital fund, providing seed money for new initiatives and enabling the dean to respond quickly to innovative proposals from the Arts and Sciences faculty.
"We are profoundly grateful to Barclay for his extraordinary gift, which recognizes the central role the Krieger School plays at Johns Hopkins," President William R. Brody said. "An endowed deanship gives us unique opportunities to enhance the academic mission of the school."
Knapp is a 1979 graduate of Johns Hopkins and has been a university trustee since 1997. His gift honors his father, James Barclay Knapp, a prominent and highly decorated major general who served for 33 years in the U.S. Army and, after it was established, the U.S. Air Force. Gen. Knapp died earlier this year at 83, weeks after his son told him of the establishment of the James Barclay Knapp Deanship.
Barclay Knapp, 42, of Princeton, N.J., is president and chief executive officer of NTL Inc. The New York- and London-based company is one of the largest operators of cable and telephone systems in the United Kingdom with more than 1.4 million customers. The company also provides the U.K.'s widest range of television, telephone and Internet services and can count virtually all U.K. homes and businesses as customers.
Knapp is also president and CEO of CoreComm, a recently launched U.S. version of NTL. A 1983 graduate of Harvard Business School, he began his career by founding, with two partners, Cellular Communications Inc., which became in 1986 the first publicly traded cellular phone company in the United States. It eventually was sold to what is now Airtouch.
Knapp is a founding member and former national chair of the Second Decade Society, a leadership group of young alumni between 10 and 20 years past their graduations from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
"Even before this remarkable $10 million gift, Barclay Knapp's record of service to the school was extraordinary for any alumnus, and especially for one who is so young," said Herbert L. Kessler, dean of the Krieger School, who will be the first to occupy the Knapp Deanship. "This gift is particularly welcome, because its benefits go to the very heart of our academic programs."
Kessler said the first initiative launched through the endowed deanship is the recently announced Woodrow Wilson Research Program, an enhancement of Johns Hopkins' effort to provide undergraduates with unusually extensive opportunities to do original research. The program will offer selected students, beginning with a group of this fall's freshmen and sophomores, $10,000 over their undergraduate years to fund scholarly research projects under the guidance of faculty mentors. The program is named for the only U.S. president to hold a Ph.D., a doctorate in history earned by Wilson at Johns Hopkins in 1886.
Gen. Knapp was a 1939 graduate of West Point who, by the time he retired in 1972, was awarded the Silver Star, two Distinguished Service Medals and the French Croix de Guerre. He flew 59 combat missions in Europe during World War II. In 1969, he became chief U.N. representative at the Korean armistice talks. In a highly publicized April 1969 confrontation, he abruptly walked out on a North Korean general who refused to reply to his charge that the downing of an unarmed U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane over the Sea of Japan was a "calculated act of aggression."
Gen. Knapp later served with the Strategic Air Command as director of civil engineering, personnel director and chief of staff.
The James Barclay Knapp Deanship is the second endowed deanship in the eight academic divisions of the university. In 1997, Frances Watt Baker and Lenox D. Baker, both physicians and double-degree graduates of Johns Hopkins, endowed the deanship at the School of Medicine.
Barclay Knapp's $10 million commitment counts toward the $1.2 billion goal of the Johns Hopkins Initiative, a campaign scheduled to conclude in June 2000. As of April 1, total commitments to the campaign had reached $1.17 billion. Total commitments for endowment and facilities, the primary emphases of the campaign, were $676.2 million.