Johns Hopkins Gazette: March 27, 1995

New Director Brings to 'Press' Sense of Scholarly Publishing


By Dennis O'Shea

     It may take the next director of the Johns Hopkins
University Press a little time to find his way around Baltimore.
After all, he's spent most of the past three decades at another,
quite different university in another, quite different town.

     But Willis G. Regier (pronounced "rig-ear") expects to feel
very comfortable right from the start in the press's Charles
Street offices in north Baltimore.

     Though the Hopkins Press is about twice the size of Regier's
University of Nebraska Press in almost every measurable area,
they are nevertheless, he says, very similar operations:
hard-nosed on the bottom line and yet dogged in their dedication
to a decidedly non-commercial mission.

     "Both presses are committed to scholarly publishing, not
just publishing," Dr. Regier said. 

      Both presses must operate as self-supporting enterprises,
without the subsidies from their parent universities that many
other presses receive, he said. Despite that relatively unusual
mandate, he said, both are true to their academic raison d'ątre.

     "The country is full of publishers out to make a buck," Dr.
Regier said, "but there are very few who can rely on the quality
of their scholarly work to sustain their business enterprise.
Happily, Nebraska and Johns Hopkins have been in that small
company."

     Regier, who has headed the Nebraska Press since 1987, will
be only the fifth director at the Johns Hopkins Press, which was
founded in 1878 and is North America's oldest university
publisher.

     Dr. Regier will begin at Hopkins May 1, succeeding Jack G.
Goellner, who retires at the end of this week after 21 years as
direc-tor and more than 33 years with the Hopkins Press. (see
interview with Goellner, page 3)

     "Bill Regier has a very, very good track record at the
University of Nebraska, and has built both the range and the
quality of the publications there," said Provost Joseph Cooper,
who appointed Dr. Regier.

     "He has a keen understanding of the issues facing all of
academic publishing today, and especially of the future of
electronic publishing," Dr. Cooper said. "I'm confident that Bill
will prove to be an excellent guardian of the high levels of
excellence and quality that Jack Goellner and his staff have made
synonymous with the name of the Johns Hopkins Press."

     "Bill Regier is one of the ablest, most talented publishers
within the university press ranks," Goellner said of his
successor. "He is an admirable choice to lead Johns Hopkins into
the next era of scholarly publishing."

     Dr. Regier said he is delighted to be joining the Hopkins
Press, an operation he said is "extraordinary," with "one of the
major journals programs in university publishing." The press has
a staff of 118, annual revenue of $13 million, and more than 200
new book titles a year and 45 scholarly journals.

     Dr. Regier began at University of Nebraska Press in 1979 as
an associate editor. He became humanities editor in 1981,
editor-in-chief in 1983 and director in 1987. He earned his
bachelor's degree at Nebraska in 1971, and remained in Lincoln to
earn a master's degree in 1972 and his Ph.D. in English in 1978.

     He said he has been especially proud of the Nebraska Press's
translation series, which now have about 200 titles in print, and
of its Beethoven Forum, which, after just three annual issues,
has substantially enhanced the press's reputation in the field of
musicology.


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