Johns Hopkins Magazine -- June 1997
Johns Hopkins Magazine

JUNE 1997

E D I T O R' S    N O T E

When Serendipity Strikes

I've always thought that the best strategy for guiding the editorial direction of this magazine is much like the best strategy for plotting out one's life's course: prepare well for the future, both the short- and long-term, but not so rigidly that you miss taking advantage of the charming little surprises that will occasionally spring up.

Walensky and Cunningham
Our cover story is one such surprise. We were well along in the production cycle of this issue when a copy of the student-written short story, "The Dance," landed on my desk. Like the members of the Sudler Prize for the Arts Committee, I was mightily impressed by it. "It's hard to write a complete and polished story when you're just starting out, but Eileen Cunningham '97 has achieved just that," said novelist and Writing Seminars professor Jean McGarry, in explaining to me how the Sudler Committee had come to choose Cunningham as a co-recipient of the prize this year. Though we rarely run fiction in the magazine--much less undergraduate-written fiction--we decided, at the 11th hour, to shift things around and run "The Dance" as our cover story. Thematically, the piece ties in nicely to the other features in this end-of-the-year issue, which all pertain in some way to the student experience here at Hopkins. I hope you'll enjoy "The Dance" for its "graceful, dance-like style, psychological sharpness, and shapely narrative," as McGarry puts it.

At a university like Hopkins, where it can be easy for undergraduates to put the blinders on academically, the Sudler Prize is a wonderful way of recognizing graduating seniors (or fourth-year medical students) who are "Renaissance" people-- students from the sciences, or engineering, or philosophy, who are also exceptional in one of the arts (Peabody students aren't eligible). This year's co-winner, MD/PhD candidate Loren D. Walensky, is a shining example. The promising young biomedical scientist is also a talented pianist, whose performance of difficult works by Chopin and Ginastera left the Sudler Committee terrifically impressed.

The April mail brought us good news from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE): Johns Hopkins Magazine earned a bronze medal overall in the annual Recognition Program run by CASE, placing us among the top eight university magazines in the country. We also picked up a silver medal in Staff Writing, and a silver in the Special Issues category for last September's issue on the senses. And "Ejner's Hope," the February feature by freelancer Chuck Salter, captured a gold medal in the Best Articles category. It was the riveting story of one man's attempt to find relief from Parkinson's disease through a brain surgery technique known as pallidotomy. The operation, as you may remember, was grueling for everyone involved and, ultimately, unsuccessful. The article ended with Ejner Johnson pondering whether to go through the whole thing again. Now it looks like he will. Salter checked with him recently, and discovered that surgery will be scheduled soon. We wish him--and his Hopkins surgeons--the very best!