Ronald J. Daniels will assume his new post today, primed
and ready to begin his tenure as the university's 14th
president. In many ways, his work has already begun.
Since his election to office on Nov. 11, 2008, Daniels has
in essence enrolled in Johns Hopkins 101 in an effort to
familiarize himself with the culture and mechanisms of the
university and all its divisions.
During the past three months, Daniels has met with
university officials once or twice each week. He's traveled
to Baltimore frequently to meet with deans, directors and
senior vice presidents. He has also met with a large number
of university trustees and plans to have met with all of
them by June.
Following the board of trustees' Nov. 11 vote, Daniels
barnstormed the university on a whirlwind tour that took
him from the Homewood campus to Washington, D.C., with
several stops in between. He will return to each campus
this month to receive a full orientation.
Jerry Schnydman, executive assistant to the president and
secretary of the board of trustees, said that Daniels' aim
has been to hit the ground running on day one.
Daniels succeeds William R. Brody, who guided Johns Hopkins
for the past 12 years. Prior to becoming president, Daniels
most recently served as provost and chief academic officer
of the University of Pennsylvania. The Canadian-born
Daniels came to Penn from the University of Toronto, where
he was dean of the Faculty of Law and James M. Tory
Professor of Law.
Schnydman said that Daniels has conferred regularly with
Brody on issues pertinent to the university, in particular,
pressing economic concerns.
"They have developed a wonderful relationship ever since
Ron was named president," said Schnydman, who has met with
Daniels regularly both in Baltimore and at Daniels' office
in Philadelphia. "We've all been very active in trying to
bring Ron up to speed."
Michael Eicher, vice president for development and alumni
relations, said that Daniels has spent the past three
months learning about Johns Hopkins in a deep and intimate
Eicher said that Daniels has met with many major donors in
person and reached out to many others over the phone. He
has also contacted several alumni.
"He's been asking a lot of straightforward and basic
questions, like 'What should I know about Baltimore?' He
also wanted the alums to tell him about their passion for
Johns Hopkins and their current connection to the
university," Eicher said. "I sensed early on that he wanted
to get a clear understanding of this institution before he
begins his active day-to-day duties as president. I can
tell you, he's a quick study. He's extremely personable and
smart, and has been terrific to work with."
Daniels also wanted to get a sense of his new home. To help
him literally get a taste of Baltimore, university
administration and staff have taken him to dinner at
restaurants in various city neighborhoods including Federal
Hill, Little Italy, Fells Point and the Inner Harbor.
As for this new president's first 100 days, Schnydman said
that Daniels will try to meet with as many people as
possible, as quickly as possible. His calendar already
includes meetings with a variety of student, faculty and
community groups. He's also going to meet with the mayor,
the governor and other elected officials on the city, state
and federal levels.
Later this year, Daniels will meet with alumni groups
throughout the country and might visit the Hopkins-Nanjing
Center in China.
"We're going to run him ragged until June," Schnydman
jokes. "He'll need to decompress after graduation."
Daniels will be officially installed as president in a
ceremony to be held on Sept. 13 on the Homewood campus.
Specific details about the event will be announced at a
Daniels will not be the only new face in Garland Hall this
month. Lois Chiang, Daniels' chief of staff at the
University of Pennsylvania and previously assistant dean of
students at the University of Toronto Law School, will join
the university on March 9 to serve as senior adviser to the
Daniels moved into Nichols House, the president's residence
on the Homewood campus, on Sunday. He and his wife, human
rights attorney Joanne Rosen, have four teenage
For more information on Daniels, go to the president's Web