Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 3, 1995

Local Agency to Lease House Abel Wolman built in 1930s

By Steve Libowitz
     In June 1993, Hopkins trustee Harvey M. Meyerhoff bought
Abel Wolman's  Charles Street house for a reported $191,000 and
then donated it to the university. Now the house is about to
become home to an agency that serves a 7,000-member student
     After final details are addressed, the house will be leased
by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore for
use by the Jewish College Services Agency, said Jerome Schnydman,
director of Alumni Relations and adviser to the Hopkins Jewish
Student Association.
     "The new tenant is a community-based organization serving
the needs of Jewish college students in 31 undergraduate and
graduate programs throughout the region," Schnydman said.
"Although Hopkins students will use it and benefit from it, it is
not a special building for the Hopkins Jewish Student
     Schnydman said the offices in the building may accommodate
several JCS agency staff. However, he said, it is primarily being
designed for classes, religious services, movies and other social
     "This will be a major center for student programming in the
Baltimore area," said Lawrence M. Ziffer, the Associated's vice
president of community development in an interview with The
Baltimore Jewish Times.
     In the same interview, Eli Konvitz, a Hopkins sophomore and
chairman of the Inter-Campus Council of local Jewish college
students, said that the new house will supplement, but not
supplant, existing campus Jewish student centers.
     "Hopefully, it will become a place for people to hang out,"
Konvitz said. "I see a real community growing around it."
     Abel Wolman, who received a bachelor of arts degree from
Hopkins in 1913 and a bachelor of science degree two years later,
was a highly regarded professor at Hopkins for 52 years. He was
known internationally for his expertise in water resources and
public health. He built the four-story house in 1938 and lived
there until his death in 1989, at the age of 96. The house is
still in mint condition and is considered by historians to be one
of the most impressive works by noted architect Laurence Hall
     Although Hopkins president William C. Richardson wanted to
keep the house for the university, he could not justify the
purchase. That's when Meyerhoff stepped forward and bought it for
the university. 
     Schnydman thought the house would make a perfect home for
the Hopkins Jewish Student Association. The administration was
agreeable to the idea, as was Meyerhoff, as long as no university
money was used to lease or renovate the space. Schnydman met with
representatives of the Associated, who agreed to put up some of
the money, but only if the property served more than just Hopkins
students. After months of negotiation, the deal was done.
     Schnydman said additional funding is being sought to
redesign and furnish the house, and he expects it will be ready
for use by May.
     "[The university and I] are excited that Dr. Wolman's house
will be put to such good use," Schnydman said, "and it only
happened because there was private support and university
     "This is the formula I would like to see used to get similar
facilities for the university's other student organizations. I am
ready and willing to put in the same amount of time and effort to
try to make that a reality, too."

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