Frederick DeKuyper, an original and longtime attorney
with the university's Office of General
Counsel and a founding member of the Johns Hopkins Federal
Credit Union, passed away on Sept. 21 at
the Keswick Multicare Center, where he was recovering from
a fall. He was 70.
DeKuyper, a beloved figure on campus well-known for
his wry sense of humor, spent a total of
32 years working for his alma mater.
He joined Johns Hopkins in 1967 as executive assistant
to the dean of the School of Arts and
Sciences. He would later serve as executive assistant to
university President Lincoln Gordon.
In 1973, the administration asked DeKuyper to write a
paper on whether the university should
have an attorney on campus. At the time, JHU referred all
legal questions to an attorney on retainer.
DeKuyper found that there were 632 lawyers serving
American colleges and universities, many
from outside firms. Yet, he wrote, in the near future
universities could face a soaring number of
lawsuits and increased government intrusion. He recommended
the university hire its own attorney.
Two years later, the university hired Estelle Fishbein
to be its first general counsel. DeKuyper
became assistant (and later, associate) general counsel,
and the office was born.
During their long tenure, Fishbein and DeKuyper
carried the university through an era of
monumental change in terms of legal rights and laws that
affected it, including civil rights, Title 9,
animal use in testing, human subjects, and health and
Aug. 21, 1995, article in The Gazette,
DeKuyper spoke of a job that was never boring.
He mentioned an instance when a man in California
brought a suit against the university because
he believed it operated a "brainwave modification machine,"
staffed around the clock, that sent
electronic emissions to the West Coast. These emissions, he
said, "were entering the man's left ear
and doing harm to him." The case was eventually
He told The Gazette: "I realized later I should
have said, 'You're right, there is such a machine —
but it's at Harvard."
DeKuyper was no stranger to such oddness. During his
time as executive assistance to the
president, his legal advice was called upon when John
Waters was on campus filming, without
permission, a scene involving a naked hitchhiker for his
1969 film Mondo Trasho. Campus police
famously chased down the nude man and the film crew, who
were later charged with conspiracy to
commit indecent exposure.
In the early 1970s, DeKuyper served as a human
blockade when students staged a takeover of
Homewood House, then the location of the President's
Office. DeKuyper locked the door and stood
against it as the students attempted to break in.
During his tenure with the General Counsel's Office,
DeKuyper specialized in business, labor,
intellectual property and technology transfer law. The
office represents the university in all legal
matters and concerns. It provides services on litigation
and issues concerning faculty, staff and
student problems, commercial matters and government
In the first 10 years of its existence, the office
consisted of just DeKuyper and Fishbein.
Currently, the office has nine full-time attorneys, a
paralegal and four staff members.
Derek Savage, deputy general counsel, said that
DeKuyper was a magnet for the "oddball cases,"
about which he always had a good sense of humor. Savage,
who joined the office in 1985, said one of
his favorite "Fred" stories was when DeKuyper changed his
name in the city phone book to Titus
Andronicus (the title of one of Shakespeare's early
tragedies) to "protect himself from odd plaintiffs
Savage said that DeKuyper was devoted to Johns Hopkins
and particularly well-liked by the
faculty. "He really was a beloved figure to them,
especially on the Homewood campus," Savage said. "I
remember about 10 years after I came I went to see a
faculty member about a matter, and he said,
'Where's Fred? I don't know who you are.' He probably was
like, Who is this wet-behind-the-ears
lawyer — although I was about 50 at the time
[laughs]. That was just the level of respect and loyalty
the faculty had for Fred."
Savage remembers his former colleague as a collegial,
colorful character, a friendly man "who
loved to walk." He walked to work each day from his home in
Guilford and regularly vacationed in
Switzerland so he could hike its mountains and hills.
DeKuyper is also credited as being the father of the
Johns Hopkins Federal
Credit Union. In
the spring of 1971, DeKuyper approached then President
Milton Eisenhower to support the formation
of a credit union that would benefit the faculty and staff.
Later that month, DeKuyper and six other
JHU employees each contributed $25 to start the credit
union with the approval of Eisenhower. He
would then serve on its board for several years. Today, the
JHFCU has grown to 37,000 members and
$250 million in assets.
Michael Mesta, its current CEO, said, "I think it is
safe to say that if it weren't for Fred, the
Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union may never have come into
being. Fred's work has probably saved
people in the Johns Hopkins community over $1 million in
interest and fees that would have otherwise
gone to bank stockholders."
DeKuyper also served on the board of directors of the
Johns Hopkins Club from 1977 to 1996
and as its president from 1991 to 1993.
Mary Hundley DeKuyper said that her husband loved his
time at Johns Hopkins. "He was very
fond of the university," she said. "He enjoyed working
there — a place full of bright, strange and
wonderful folks, he often told me."
Born in Baltimore, DeKuyper attended Loyola High
School and graduated from Johns Hopkins in
1962 with a bachelor's degree in history. He earned his law
degree in 1965 from the University of
Before joining the university, DeKuyper spent a year
of military service with the Army Security
Agency and then worked for nine years as a trust officer
with the Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust
DeKuyper left Johns Hopkins in 1999 to work for the
law firm of Astrachan Gunts and Thomas,
specializing in the areas of university law, intellectual
property and technology transfer.
Upon retirement in 2004, he joined the Greater
Homewood Community Corp.'s Experience Corps
program, volunteering five days a week at the Guilford
Elementary School with third- and fourth-graders, primarily
doing one-on-one tutoring in math. "He loved it," Mary
DeKuyper said. "He told
everyone that it was the most satisfying work he had ever
done. He cherished his students and really
wanted them to succeed."
In 2006, the American Association of Physical
Anthropologists presented him with its Gabriel
W. Lasker Service Award in honor of his extraordinary
service to the organization through his counsel
in negotiating a new publishing agreement between the AAPA
and John Wiley & Sons, the publisher of
its journal. The award was established in 2005 to recognize
and honor individuals who have
demonstrated a history of excellence in service to AAPA,
its members and/or the field of physical
In addition to his wife, DeKuyper is survived by two
children, Sarah and Gordon, and two
Funeral services will be private.