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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