Johns Hopkins Magazine -- September 1998
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E D I T O R' S    N O T E

Bringing Home the Sibley

Whooping it up!
(Top: Melissa Hendricks, Sue De Pasquale, and Dale Keiger;
bottom: Joanne Cavanaugh and Shaul Tsemach)

At Commencement in May, I had the pleasure of meeting the magazine's founding editor, Corbin Gwaltney '43, who was on hand to collect an honorary degree. I'd long been an admirer of the man who went on to become the founding editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education, and I was more than a little interested in the tales he shared of Johns Hopkins Magazine's early days.

I learned, for instance, that early into his tenure, the young Corbin found his job in peril. It seems that the powers-that-be had envisioned something entirely different for the magazine; something more scientific and technical, along the lines of MIT's Technology Review. Corbin figured his days as editor were numbered. Then came word that Johns Hopkins Magazine had been named the 1951 Robert Sibley Magazine of the Year--the highest honor possible in the world of college and university magazines. Needless to say, Corbin kept his job and the Magazine's future within the university was safeguarded.

Nearly 50 years later, I'm thrilled to tell you that your Magazine is continuing in the winning tradition that Corbin started. In June we learned that a panel of judges from Newsweek has selected Johns Hopkins Magazine as the Sibley Magazine of the Year for 1998.

If you're a faithful reader of the Magazine, then the Sibley award should strike a familiar chord; over the years Johns Hopkins Magazine has won the honor nine times--more than any other college or university magazine in the nation (Harvard comes closest with six.) In the decade Corbin Gwaltney spent at the helm he brought home three Sibleys: in 1951, '56, and '59. His successor, Ron Wolk, won in 1961. Under Tony Neville's editorship, Hopkins earned back-to-back Sibleys, in 1965 and 1966. Then came one in 1980, with Elise Hancock as editor, and in 1988, under Alan Sea.

On the plane to Chicago, where the awards dinner took place in mid-July, I had some time to catch my breath and reflect on the ingredients that have contributed to the Magazine's success. Key, I believe, has been the support of the university's administrators. By trusting us to be honest and objective in our reporting, they have enabled the Magazine to eschew "fluff" in favor of more substantive stories about Hopkins people and the issues facing the university. Witness last September's in-depth look at faculty tenure, for instance, and this issue's special report on rising tuition costs. We think you, our readers, are best served by this kind of straightforward approach--and evidently the Newsweek judges thought so, too.

The other central ingredient, of course, is the Magazine's talented staff members: senior writers Joanne P. Cavanaugh, Melissa Hendricks, and Dale Keiger; and art director Shaul Tsemach. It would be tough to find a group of people who are more committed to excellence (and the university) than this crew. I'm proud to work alongside them each day.
Sue De Pasquale, Editor