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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 9, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 16
James Earl Jones to Lead MLK Tribute

Though best known for his highly visible work on stage and screen, James Earl Jones is also acclaimed for his contributions to the arts and literacy.

Actor and Sen. Sarbanes to be honored for their lifetime service

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

Legendary star of stage and screen James Earl Jones will be the featured guest and keynote speaker for Johns Hopkins' annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday remembrance, an event that takes place this year on Friday, Jan. 13.

Begun in 1982, the Johns Hopkins Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration honors the Nobel Peace Prize winner's legacy of nonviolent activism and community service. It will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Turner Auditorium on the East Baltimore campus and will be broadcast to several other university and health system locations.

Jones will receive the Ideals Award in recognition of his outstanding service and commitment to King's principles. An Ideals Award will also be presented this year to Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), who has represented the people of Maryland for four decades.

One of America's most celebrated actors, James Earl Jones has earned acclaim for his distinguished work on stage, in film and on television. He is also known for his contributions to the arts and literacy, and is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the prestigious NAACP Hall of Fame Image Award. An accomplished author, Jones serves as an advocate of literacy, often traveling the country reading to children and teaching them the importance of books in their lives.

Among his many awards and recognitions, Jones holds honorary doctorates from Yale, Princeton and the University of Michigan. He is a recipient of the Silver Jubilee Kennedy Center Honors and the Jean Renoir Award from the Los Angeles Film Teachers Association for his collected works. With two Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards and an Oscar nomination among his honors, Jones overcame the challenges of working at a time when serious jobs for black actors were scarce.

Born in Arkabutla Township, Miss., Jones entered the University of Michigan planning to study medicine but found himself drawn to the theater. After a number of small roles, Jones attracted the attention of critics and audiences with his intense performance in the American premiere of Jean Genet's absurdist drama The Blacks. He has appeared in such films as the The Great White Hope, in which he played a character based on Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion; and Cry, The Beloved Country, in which he portrayed a South African minister. Jones also was Admiral Greer in the highly popular series of films based on the Tom Clancy novels The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Younger audiences recognize his voice as that of King Mufasa in the Disney classic The Lion King and of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films. He is also heard by millions around the world every day intoning the words "This is CNN."

The MLK event's list of past speakers includes Harry Belafonte Jr., the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, Danny Glover, Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks, who died in October at the age of 92.

The event will feature a memorial tribute to Parks, who is considered the mother of the modern-day civil rights movement.

Levi Watkins, founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Celebration and chair of its committee, said that a portion of Parks' 1988 address will be played at the event.

"We want to use this event to pause and reflect upon a great life and person," said Watkins of Parks, who in her later life was a patient at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Watkins, a professor of surgery and associate dean for postdoctoral affairs at the School of Medicine, said the event, through the presentation of the Ideals Award, will also honor the work and career of Sarbanes.

Serving first in the Maryland House of Delegates and then as a U.S. congressman and senator, Sarbanes has supported every major legislative effort to assure that the civil rights of all citizens are protected and to prohibit discrimination in federally assisted programs. He was a co-sponsor of the Equal Rights and Equal Dignity for Americans Act of 2003 and the Civil Rights Act of 2004. Working with the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, of which King had been a member, Sarbanes introduced legislation to authorize the construction of a memorial to King in Washington, D.C. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation is currently raising the funds necessary to build the memorial, which will be housed on the Tidal Basin.

The celebration will include the 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards ceremony, in which seven Hopkins employees will be honored for demonstrating through community service the spirit of volunteerism and citizenship that characterized King's life [see below].

The Unified Voices Choir, a gospel group whose ranks include Hopkins staff and community members, will provide musical entertainment beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Those unable to attend can view the event on closed-circuit television at Homewood's Hodson Hall; the Mt. Washington campus's Green Room; Bayview's Asthma and Allergy Auditorium; the D-120 auditorium at Johns Hopkins at Eastern; JHH's Hurd Hall, Tilghman Auditorium and Patient Channel 60; suite 300 of the Charles Center; and the third-floor conference room at 901 S. Bond St.

For more information about the event, go to


Seven Recognized with MLK Jr. Community Service Awards

Seven Johns Hopkins affiliates will be honored this year for their volunteer work in the community. Seated are Patricia Engblom, Michael Beer and Carol Gentry. Standing are Sarah Hemminger, Temekia Butler, Rajiv Devanagondi and Willie Ray Horne.

Mary Ann Ayd
Johns Hopkins Medicine

A student at the School of Medicine, a professor emeritus of biophysics and a nurse clinician at The Johns Hopkins Hospital will be among the seven Johns Hopkins associates presented this year with Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards, which honor unselfish volunteer work. The awards will be presented at the MLK Jr. Commemoration ceremony on Jan. 13 [see story, above].
   Nominees are evaluated by panels of faculty and staff at their institutions and then are recommended to the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration executive committee, which selects the winners. A seven-member panel reviews the university nominations, and a four-member panel evaluates hospital nominees.
   In making its decision, each panel looks at five criteria: how vital the project is to the well-being of the community, how well-received and well-supported the project is within the community, the impact of the person's participation on the overall project, the impact on the community and the person's commitment to the activity or project.

Michael Beer
Professor emeritus of biophysics and former associate dean for research,
School of Arts and Sciences

Since his retirement more than a decade ago, Michael Beer has annually devoted hundreds of hours to maintaining the park that borders Stoney Run Creek just north of the university's Homewood campus. Tending the trail along both sides of the creek, he's nurtured a congenial habitat for Baltimore orioles, pileated woodpeckers and other native birds, and has often used his personal funds to acquire and plant trees and shrubs that are natural to the area. Thanks to Beer's attention to fostering this wilderness amid the city, hundreds of students and neighborhood residents can enjoy walking, running and biking in a quiet, calming, beautiful environment.

Temekia Butler Office and facilities manager,
Johns Hopkins HealthCare

Tapping her on-the-job problem-solving and organizational skills, Temekia Butler has plunged into the monetary intricacies of the Baltimore County public school system. As chair of the Capital Budget Committee for the PTA Council of Baltimore County, she reviews the budget, attends hearings, provides training and workshops, and annually advocates for additional funding in Annapolis. Butler also initiated Johns Hopkins HealthCare's relationship with nearby North Glen Elementary School, where she mentors students and volunteers regularly. Among the numerous other causes she's embraced are the Police Athletic League, a yearly holiday gift drive for the homeless in Baltimore City, the annual fund-raising walks for both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Heart Association, and the Environmental Assessment Committee for Baltimore County Schools.

Rajiv Devanagondi
Second-year student,
School of Medicine

From the moment he set foot on the Homewood campus as a freshman in 2000, Rajiv Devanagondi has been volunteering, first with the Johns Hopkins Tutorial Project, a program that provides one-on-one help in reading and math for elementary school children. By his senior year, Devanagondi was one of two student directors of the program, overseeing daily operations and the scheduling and testing of 60 children. Now, amid his medical studies, he's been volunteering at the Caroline Street Clinic for the Uninsured since it opened in 2004, as well as at the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. He also stepped forward to help organize the first East Baltimore Community Talent Show, a hugely successful production staged in March 2005 in Turner Auditorium to showcase neighborhood singers, dancers, poets, rappers and comedians.

Patricia Engblom
Assistant administrator,
Department of Medicine Outpatient Operations,
School of Medicine

As president of the Junior League of Baltimore, Patricia Engblom leads an organization that last year volunteered nearly 40,000 hours of community service. Her group's mission--to promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women and improve the community through the effective leadership and action of trained volunteers--is one that Engblom has embraced for nearly two decades. She's tutored elementary school and GED students, joined advocacy efforts for people affected by domestic violence, coordinated a health fair, conducted an annual giving campaign, written grants for program support, chaired numerous Junior League committees and served on the organization's board of directors. Last year, Engblom used her vacation to complete the Leadership Baltimore County program, a class of competitively chosen candidates trained to assume leadership roles with regional nonprofit organizations.

Carol Gentry
Nurse manager, Pediatric Service,
General Operating Room Evening, Night, Trauma,
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Working closely with Hopkins volunteer Kay Donnelly for nearly a decade, Carol Gentry has been one of the prime movers behind Project Share, a labor-intensive program that salvages unused medical and surgical supplies from the hospital's operating rooms, sterilizes the items, and sorts and packages them for shipment to developing countries. She understands the need firsthand, having joined medical missions to Guyana, Lourdes, Kenya, Gaza, China, Romania and Venezuela. Yet her volunteer reach is also local. At her church, Gentry's been helping coordinate the preparation and delivery of gift baskets to needy families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays for 10 years, and she's long been lending a hand with the Cooperative Food Ministry, which regularly provides meals to low-income families. An annual participant in the Children's Center telethon, Gentry also coordinated a team of Hopkins volunteers that included nurses, surgeons and techs who helped build Annie's Playground in memory of a hospital patient.

Sarah Hemminger
Graduate student, Biomedical Engineering,
School of Medicine

Two years ago, Sarah Hemminger asked Dunbar High School for the names of its 10 worst students. Given 20 names, Hemminger enlisted 15 biomedical engineering graduate students and medical students for a concept she called the Incentive Mentoring Program. She and her recruits not only began to mentor the 20 Dunbar students after school but required them to pass the good along by working one Saturday each month in such organizations as soup kitchens and by becoming mentors themselves to local grade-school students. After a single semester in the program, 70 percent of the Dunbar students passed all their courses; after two years, it was 80 percent. Two students received all A's, and two have been awarded college scholarships. Today, Hemminger's cadre of mentors has grown to 60, and she's set up an administrative structure to ensure that her program can continue after she graduates.

Willie Ray Horne
Nurse clinician IIM, Psychiatry,
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Having successfully launched his own two children into adulthood, Willie Ray Horne began volunteering two years ago with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Maryland. In addition to speaking at board meetings and community centers, Horne has taken under his wing a 12-year-old boy with whom he spends the day at least twice a month. He's not only included the youngster in his family vacation but actively encourages his interest in school and sports. "You have changed my life for the better," the boy once wrote to Horne. "I will always remember everything you and I do together and everything you taught me." Horne also coaches baseball, basketball and soccer in Woodlawn, Randallstown and Owings Mills and is involved in prison ministry through Zion Baptist Church. In recognition of his commitment to service, Horne was a 2004 finalist for the Baltimore Ravens' Community Quarterback Award.


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