News entrepreneur and university alumnus Michael R. Bloomberg has pledged another $45 million to the university, completing his record gift to the current Hopkins campaign at $100 million.
Bloomberg, who is chairman of the university's board of trustees, has asked President William R. Brody to devote two-thirds of the additional commitment, $30 million, to financial aid, primarily for full-time undergraduates in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering.
That use for the gift is intended to bring Hopkins financial aid awards more closely in line with those at other leading universities and to reduce the growing debt load on undergraduates. Student aid, for both undergraduate and graduate students, is one of the top priorities of the Johns Hopkins Initiative, a $1.2 billion fund-raising effort.
"The American dream is alive in a lot more places than it was when I went to undergraduate school in the early '60s, so the need for financial aid today is even greater than it was back then," said Bloomberg, who took out loans and parked cars at the faculty club to finance part of his Hopkins education.
"There are lots of young men and women we would love to have as students, the Nobel Prize winners, the Pulitzer Prize winners, the Lasker Award winners of the future," said Bloomberg, who announced his decision at an Oct. 10 dinner for Johns Hopkins Initiative supporters. "It would be a sin if society is deprived of the fruits of their work down the road because those of us, today, who could have helped, didn't."
In October 1995, Bloomberg made what he described then as an "initial commitment" of $55 million to the Johns Hopkins Initiative, divided among all the academic divisions of the university.
"For years, Mike Bloomberg has demonstrated a commitment to this university and an appreciation for the importance of its work unequaled perhaps since the days of Johns Hopkins himself," Brody said. "We are enormously grateful, not only for his generosity but also for his leadership of and devotion to the Johns Hopkins Institutions.
"Mike's focus on undergraduate financial aid is particularly critical," Brody said. "Over the past 10 years, the average indebtedness of graduating seniors at Hopkins and other top universities has doubled. Large loans significantly limit students' choices, both when they apply for college and when they graduate and decide what to do in life. Our goal is to make it possible for the best students to take advantage of a Hopkins education, regardless of their circumstances, and then to go wherever their talents and interests take them."
The School of Public Health, the oldest and largest school of its kind, will receive $15 million of the new money in Bloomberg's completed campaign gift, including $5 million of the financial aid funding. That is in addition to $20 million Bloomberg directed to the school at the time of his initial commitment.
"This is an extraordinary moment in the history of the school. Mr. Bloomberg's magnificent support will enable us to undertake important new initiatives that will impact the health of people around the world," said Alfred Sommer, dean of the school. "We are particularly delighted with the support for our graduate students, who are the future of the public health profession."
The remainder of the new money will go to other projects of interest to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg, 56, founded Bloomberg L.P. in l981 and has built it into a worldwide multimedia analytical and news service for investment and securities firms, government offices and news organizations. Bloomberg L.P. is the parent company of a number of news and financial information enterprises, including a financial data and analysis service delivered over more than 100,000 terminals; a wire service; radio, broadcast television and cable TV feeds; magazines; books; and other media. He is a 1964 engineering graduate of Johns Hopkins.
Bloomberg's initial commitment three years ago brought the Johns Hopkins Initiative past the halfway mark toward its original goal of $900 million by the campaign's end in 2000. The completion of his gift takes the campaign past $1 billion, to $1.04 billion. The campaign exceeded the original goal in April, nearly two years ahead of schedule. The board of trustees then increased the goal to $1.2 billion, citing a pressing need for student aid and library support.
Bloomberg's total campaign gift of $100 million ties for ninth on a list, compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education, of the largest private gifts to U.S. higher education since 1967. It ranks fifth on that list among gifts from living individual contributors. The Bloomberg $100 million is also twice the size of the second-largest gift in Hopkins history, $50 million from the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund to support the endowment of the School of Arts and Sciences. That commitment was announced in 1992 as a challenge to alumni and friends, and since has generated an additional $50 million in endowment for Arts and Sciences.
The Johns Hopkins Initiative, a joint effort of the university and the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, was publicly launched in October 1994. Its primary emphasis has been to build the university's endowment, which is far smaller than those of comparable schools, and to finance needed construction and renovation at the university and hospital.
Counting Bloomberg's total gift, the campaign now stands at more than 86 percent of the revised goal. The Initiative's original overall goal of $900 million included a $525 million target for endowment and facilities. The total for those priorities is now $598 million.