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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 10, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 25
President Brody to Retire

President Brody congratulates a newly minted graduate at the 2006 undergraduate diploma ceremony.
Photo by Homewood Photographic Imaging Services

Will step down Dec. 31 after 12-plus years at the helm of Johns Hopkins

By Dennis O'Shea

William R. Brody, who has led The Johns Hopkins University to a deepened commitment to undergraduate education, diversity, the community and research that advances human society, and who has directed a transformative renewal of its facilities, will retire as president on Dec. 31, he informed the board of trustees today.

Brody, 64, will have led the university for more than 12 years, the fifth-longest tenure among Johns Hopkins' 13 presidents. His retirement will coincide with the conclusion of the $3.2 billion Johns Hopkins: Knowledge for the World campaign.

"I simply love this job," Brody said in a message to students, faculty, staff and alumni. "But leaving is inevitable. And I feel, moreover, that there comes a point when leaving is most natural, least disruptive and, in a way, most constructive. I feel we are about to reach such a point.

"Twelve years is a great run," he said, "and stepping down at the completion of my second campaign will allow the trustees to recruit a highly talented and able leader who will take Johns Hopkins to the next level."

Pamela P. Flaherty, chair of the board of trustees, said that Brody has the university in "excellent shape" and well prepared for a presidential transition.

"Bill Brody has been an extremely successful leader at Johns Hopkins University," Flaherty said. "We're fortunate to have had him for more than a dozen years."

Morris W. Offit, a trustee emeritus who was chairman of the board when Brody was elected president in 1996, agreed.

"When the search committee identified Bill as its candidate for the presidency, we obviously thought he would rank among the finest Johns Hopkins presidents," Offit said. "Our expectations were exceeded beyond our fondest dreams."

In his message today to the campus community, Brody expressed his gratitude to the university's students, faculty and staff and to the trustees, alumni and friends of the university from the public and private sectors who support its work.

"When I started as president in 1996," he wrote, "Wendy and I made building a better sense of community among all of us at Johns Hopkins a top priority. I wanted to focus on the undergraduate experience. I wanted to make real and significant progress on ensuring that our campuses are diverse and inclusive. I wanted to reposition Johns Hopkins Medicine with a new governance structure so that it could continue to provide excellent, compassionate service to the sick in an era of managed care.

"I hope and believe that we have made great strides in all these areas," he wrote. "I hope and believe that, together, we have enhanced Johns Hopkins' ability to teach and to mentor, to discover and to heal, and to share the gift of knowledge with the world."

During Brody's presidency, the university has:

  • Established the Carey Business School, the School of Education and numerous interdisciplinary centers such as the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, Center for Africana Studies, Center for Global Health, Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, Information Security Institute, Institute for Cell Engineering and Malaria Research Institute.

  • Focused attention on the undergraduate experience both in and outside the classroom, by building new residential, art and recreational facilities; enhancing programs aimed at building a sense of campus community; inaugurating popular academic programs such as museum studies, theater, and entrepreneurship and management; strengthening security measures on campus and in adjacent neighborhoods; and creating new opportunities for undergraduates to take part in original research.

  • Created and largely built out a master plan for the Homewood campus in northern Baltimore that emphasized a serene outdoor environment; modern, interdisciplinary research facilities; and a welcoming new entrance and visitor center.

  • Expanded and modernized the research and education facilities of the health professions schools on the East Baltimore campus as part of a master plan that also has led to the construction, now under way, of two new clinical towers at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

  • Revitalized the aging Mount Vernon campus of the Peabody Institute, creating one of the finest music conservatory facilities in the world.

  • Expanded its presence in locations from Rockville, Md., to Washington, D.C., to Nanjing, China.

  • Celebrated Nobel Prizes to two full-time faculty members and three graduates; also celebrated NCAA Division I men's lacrosse championships in 2005 and 2007.

  • Made significant progress in the diversification of its student body, faculty and administration; committed to aggressive continued improvement in the recruitment of women and underrepresented minorities.

  • Completed a $1.52 billion campaign (original goal: $900 million) in 2000 and raised more than $3.1 billion to date in the Knowledge for the World campaign (original goal $2 billion; current goal $3.2 billion; closing date Dec. 31).

  • "The accomplishments of my time as president have truly been a team effort," Brody said, "involving scores of thousands of faculty, staff and students. And they could not have occurred without the generous support of alumni and friends and the wonderful partnerships Johns Hopkins has forged with the city of Baltimore, the state of Maryland, a number of foundations and many agencies of the federal government."

    Under Brody's direction, the university, often working in close partnership with its sister institution The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, also has focused financial support, time and talent on solutions to problems in the neighborhoods surrounding its campuses and in the Baltimore region in general.

    Johns Hopkins has contributed significantly to the New EastSide project, an urban revitalization effort initiated by a team of institutional, philanthropic and governmental partners and now under way north of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore. Brody established the Urban Health Institute to focus Johns Hopkins resources on community health problems in East Baltimore. To support the Baltimore public schools, he created the Baltimore Scholars Program, which now invests more than $2 million a year in tuition waivers for graduates of city schools. The university supports community and civic organizations, provides community health services and in numerous programs provides mentoring and other support for Baltimore youth.

    "Bill Brody has not only given Johns Hopkins a better future, he's given Baltimore a better future," said Martin O'Malley, governor of Maryland and former Baltimore mayor. "All of us who love the city are very fortunate that at a critical time in Baltimore's comeback, a man of such vision, integrity and courage was leading Johns Hopkins."

    Brody became president of The Johns Hopkins University on Sept. 1, 1996, returning to Baltimore from the University of Minnesota, where he had served for two years as provost of the Academic Health Center. From 1987 to 1994, he had been the Martin Donner Professor and director of the Department of Radiology, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins, and radiologist-in-chief of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    Brody was professor of radiology and electrical engineering at Stanford University from 1977 to 1986. He has been a co-founder of three medical device companies, and was president and chief executive officer of Resonex from 1984 to 1987. He has more than 100 publications and two U.S. patents in the field of medical imaging and has made research contributions in medical acoustics, computed tomography, digital radiography and magnetic resonance imaging.

    A native of Stockton, Calif., Brody received his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965 and 1966. He earned his medical degree in 1970 and doctorate in electrical engineering in 1972, both from Stanford University.

    Brody was the first Johns Hopkins president to live in Nichols House on the Homewood campus since 1971. He and his wife, Wendy, are often seen on campus, notably at basketball and lacrosse games and other student events. They also have made it a point each year to greet incoming freshmen and their parents during move-in days, variously using in-line skates, scooters and, one year, Segway Human Transporters to move quickly from one residence hall to another.

    Wendy Brody has been a force for change within the university and in the Baltimore community. She has spearheaded the work of the Johns Hopkins Women's Club to renew the library at the Barclay School and helped to spread the Experience Corps model in the public schools. She is deeply interested in the arts, serving on the advisory council of Homewood Museum and founding the Friends of the Peabody to better connect the Baltimore community with the talented student musicians of the Peabody Institute. She has also worked to strengthen the bonds between Johns Hopkins and the Walters Art Museum.

    "She has been my true partner at Johns Hopkins," Brody said in his message to the campus community. "She has done so much in so many ways to better unite the university with those it serves. I cannot say how grateful I am to her."

    Information on the formation of a search committee to replace Brody is expected to be announced soon.

    For a look back at Brody's presidency, with videos, a photographic slide show and timeline, go to


    Selected highlights of President Brody's tenure

    Undergraduate Education

    ♦ Brody created a universitywide Commission on Undergraduate Education and focused the university's decennial accreditation self-study on undergraduate issues.

    ♦ Under Brody's leadership, the university created the position of Homewood campus dean of undergraduate education and vice provost to implement the commission and self-study recommendations.

    ♦ During Brody's tenure, the university has built new residential, art and recreational facilities; enhanced programs aimed at building campus community; inaugurated popular academic programs such as museum studies, theater, and entrepreneurship and management; strengthened security measures on campus and in adjacent neighborhoods; and created new opportunities for undergraduates to take part in original research.

    ♦ Brody's administration also appointed a campus task force on the arts, leading to appointment of the first vice provost for the arts and implementation of many new arts-related initiatives.

    ♦ During Brody's tenure, applications for the freshman class at Homewood have grown from 8,510 in 1996, the year he arrived, to 15,950 for the fall of 2008.

    Academics and Research

    ♦ The Carey Business School and the School of Education were established.

    ♦ Awards and honors for full-time faculty during Brody's tenure include two Nobel Prizes, three MacArthur "genius grant" fellowships, three Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards, one National Book Award, one Kennedy Center Honors Award, three National Medals of Science, one National Humanities Medal, one National Medal of Technology and several Grammy nominations.

    ♦ New interdisciplinary academic and research centers include, among many others, the Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Institute, Center for Financial Economics, Brain Science Institute, Human Language Technology Center of Excellence, Institute for NanoBioTechnology, Center for Africana Studies, Center for Global Health, Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, Information Security Institute, Institute for Cell Engineering and Malaria Research Institute.

    ♦ The university's research and development work in science and engineering grew almost 95 percent, from $798.5 million in fiscal year 1996, the year before Brody became president, to $1.554 billion in fiscal 2007. Through fiscal 2006, the latest year for which national rankings are available, Johns Hopkins has led U.S. academic institutions in total R&D spending for 28 straight years.

    ♦ During the past eight years, APL, working for NASA, has landed a spacecraft on an asteroid, sent one probe toward Pluto and another toward Mercury, and launched the two STEREO satellites to get measurements of the Sun in three dimensions.

    Community Relations

    ♦ Under Brody's direction, Johns Hopkins has been one of the lead partners in the New EastSide project, an urban revitalization designed to provide housing, jobs, commerce and schools and build a diverse mixed-income community in a formerly blighted area north of the JHMI campus. Johns Hopkins already has contributed more than $20 million in cash and made significant noncash contributions.

    ♦ Brody established the Urban Health Institute to focus Johns Hopkins resources on community health problems in East Baltimore.

    ♦ To support the Baltimore public schools, Brody created the Baltimore Scholars Program, which already invests more than $2 million a year in tuition waivers for graduates of city schools. That figure will increase as the program grows.

    Finance and Economic Impact

    ♦ The university's endowment has grown from $982.6 million in 1996, the year Brody arrived, to $2.8 billion in 2007.

    ♦ Johns Hopkins University employment of Maryland residents increased nearly 43 percent from 1996 to 2006.

    ♦ In 2006, the Johns Hopkins Institutions generated $10 billion in income for the Maryland economy, a 43 percent increase in just four years from the 2002 level of $7 billion.

    ♦ The university's fiscal year 2008 budget is $3.39 billion, up 124 percent from the $1.51 billion budget in fiscal 1996, the year before he arrived.


    ♦ Under Brody, Johns Hopkins completed a $1.52 billion campaign in 2000; the original goal was $900 million.

    ♦ The Knowledge for the World campaign now under way has raised more than $3.1 billion to date; its original goal was $2 billion. Its new goal is $3.2 billion by the end of 2008. The campaign's priorities are endowment for student aid and faculty support; research, academic and clinical initiatives; and the building and upgrading of facilities on all Johns Hopkins campuses

    ♦ Nine of the 10 largest gifts in Johns Hopkins history have been made during Brody's tenure.


    A few examples of the many university facilities completed or extensively renovated during Brody's time in office:

    ♦ At the Homewood campus: Student facilities such as Charles Commons, the Mattin Center, the Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Service Center and the Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center. Research and academic buildings such as Hodson Hall, New Chemistry, Clark Hall and the Computational Science and Engineering Building. Outdoor amenities such as the Decker Quadrangle and the "Great Excavations" landscaping project. A new admissions and visitor center, Mason Hall.

    ♦ At the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore: The Anne M. Pinkard Building (home of the School of Nursing), the multibuilding Bloomberg School of Public Health expansion, the Broadway Research Building, the Bunting-Blaustein and David Koch Cancer Research Buildings.

    ♦ A $27 million makeover transforming the aging physical plant of the Peabody Institute into one of the best music conservatory facilities in the world.

    ♦ Expansion of the Montgomery County Campus to three buildings; a new, larger Downtown Center in Baltimore; the 11-story Samuel Pollard Building at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies; the Bernstein-Offit Building in Washington, D.C.


    ♦ Brody appointed the Diversity Leadership Council as one of the first major acts of his presidency.

    ♦ The university has adopted a goal of gender equity in composition of the faculty and senior leadership positions. At present, three of seven vice presidents and four of nine vice provosts are women.

    ♦ The representation of underrepresented minorities in the universitywide undergraduate population has increased 64 percent, from 9.2 percent in the year before Brody arrived to 15.1 percent today. At Homewood, the representation of underrepresented minorities in the freshman class has more than doubled since 2001, from less than 7 percent to more than 14 percent.

    ♦ The university's admissions offices have adopted a wide range of strategies for reaching out to potential minority students and have made recruitment of underrepresented minorities a high priority.

    ♦ Brody's universitywide Commission on Equity, Civility and Respect will have recommendations soon on a comprehensive universitywide diversity education program, building on success in the School of Medicine and recent new initiatives on the Homewood campus.

    Advocacy on National and Global Issues

    ♦ As co-chair of the National Innovation Initiative (with Intel Chairman Craig Barrett), Brody helped shaped the debate on competitiveness and innovation that culminated in 2007 with the passage of the America COMPETES Act.

    ♦ Brody advocated strengthening the nation's science, math, engineering and technology talent base through strong federal support of basic research in the physical and life sciences.

    ♦ Believing the United States should have access to the best talent in the world, Brody has been an advocate for immigration reform. Serving on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the FBI National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, he has promoted the importance of keeping the United States a welcoming place for international students and scholars.

    ♦ Brody has written extensively about U.S. health care and become a leading voice on reform and an outspoken advocate for a better, safer, more cost-effective system. Brody has worked to broaden the dialogue on health care reform and focus the debate on issues such as quality and consistency of care, the complexity of the health care system and the need to focus on chronic illness.

    ♦ Brody chaired the NIH Working Group on Construction of Research Facilities (2000-2001), charged with recommending how the nation's biomedical infrastructure could be updated to make the most of the then recent federal commitment to doubling of the NIH budget.


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