Charles W. Gilchrist, the former Montgomery County
executive whose vision led to the creation of the
County Campus, was honored posthumously in a special
ceremony on Friday, April 21, when the campus's original
building was dedicated as Charles W. Gilchrist Hall.
The ceremony, which also marked the 20th anniversary
of the groundbreaking of the campus in Rockville, Md., drew
dozens of Johns Hopkins and government officials, including
President William R. Brody;
former President Steven Muller; and Montgomery County
Executive Doug Duncan. Gilchrist's wife, Phoebe, and many
other family members were in attendance as well.
The event honored Gilchrist for his leadership in the
creation of the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, where the
campus resides, and focused on the campus's beginnings and
its two decades of robust growth.
"More than 20 years ago, Charlie Gilchrist recognized
how important Johns Hopkins teaching and research would be
to the future of Montgomery County and the entire region,"
Brody said. "Time has not only shown him right, but has
demonstrated an even greater need than first imagined."
Established in 1988 in the heart of suburban
Maryland's biotechnology and information technology
corridor, Johns Hopkins' Montgomery County Campus currently
serves 5,000 full- and part-time students in more than 60
degree and certificate programs from four university
divisions: Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Public Health
and Professional Studies in Business and Education.
Roughly 350 adjunct and full-time faculty teach there, and
dozens of researchers work in its labs.
The campus most recently opened Building III, a
115,000-square-foot facility that features wet labs,
computer labs, classrooms, meeting space and a
1,000-square-foot bookstore. The building, which opened in
2004, also has space for leasing to non-JHU tenants with
which Johns Hopkins can establish academic, research or
other collaborations. The first to sign on were CBH Health,
a community-based private sector clinical research
organization, and the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute.
The two have since been joined by Vanda Pharmaceuticals and
the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental
The master plan for the 35-acre campus includes
expansion over the next 10 years to seven buildings
totaling 850,000 square feet of academic and research
"In recent years, we have begun to 'complexify' the
campus — going beyond the teaching mission to include
research centers and a growing research presence," said
Elaine Amir, MCC director, at the dedication. "We're still
fulfilling our promise to make county and state leaders
proud of their investment in Johns Hopkins Montgomery
Charles Gilchrist and former university President
Steven Muller, who served on the Montgomery County
Commission on Higher Education in Science and Technology,
worked together to bring about the plan whereby the 35
acres of land, public facilities and $9 million were
donated to JHU to start the campus.
Gilchrist served two terms as Montgomery County
executive, from 1978 to 1986, and then, instead of taking
an expected run for U.S. Congress or Senate, announced he
would be leaving government service to become an Episcopal
priest. He was ordained several years later and moved into
an impoverished community in Chicago. He returned to
Maryland in 1999, in the final stages of cancer, and passed
away at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
President Brody in his speech honored Gilchrist and
Muller, Brody's predecessor, for their vision for the
future of Montgomery County and the greater region. Brody
focused his comments on the need for the United States to
provide more leaders in all areas of science and technology
and on how the country's "once unassailable lead in
brainpower is starting to slip."
"Clearly, Johns Hopkins has a vital role to play here
in Montgomery County," he said. "When Steven Muller and
Charlie Gilchrist signed the agreement in 1985 that led to
the creation of this campus, there was great hope for the
future. More than two decades later, we have seen those
promises fulfilled, and we again look to the future with an
eye on challenges, but nonetheless a tremendous sense of