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Alumni News

News Associates: Emily Richards, MA '97, Jeanne Johnson
Contributing Writers: Mike Field, Eileen Murphy, Lew Diuguid, SAIS '63

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November's Alumni Notes

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Seeing Isn't Always Understanding
White House Honors for Henderson
Fueling the "Twin Engines"
Toying Around with the Icons of Pop Culture
An Appetite for Competition
Turning Gray Into Green
Investigating Crime in Alaska
From Soup to Nuts
Shelf Life
Devoted Alums Share the Vision
Restoration of the Historical and Iconic Gilman Hall
Saying Good-bye to Brooks
Alumni Around the World
Getting It Down on Paper
A Wee Bit O' Fun for the Kiddies
Distinguished Alumnus Award
Heritage Award

Mike May, SAIS '79
Seeing Isn't Always Understanding

When they took the bandage off his eye, Mike May remembers experiencing "a big wash of light." And then there was a most peculiar sensation. "I could see stuff," recalls May, SAIS '79, who had been blind since a chemical accident damaged both his eyes at age 3. But seeing is not necessarily understanding, as May was quick to discover. After 43 years of blindness, his brain was not wired to accept, process, and understand visual information. "I had to ask for an explanation of what I was seeing. I had to have help figuring out, OK, that's the shape of a person."

In the decades after being blinded, May learned to navigate the world by relying on his other senses, a challenge he met with considerable success. A one-time political analyst for the CIA, he subsequently embarked upon a successful career as an entrepreneur in Oregon and Silicon Valley. Currently, at age 48, he is president and CEO of the Davis, California-based Sendero Group LLC, which makes a personal navigation system for the blind. The product uses Global Positioning System technology to deliver useful location information (such as the nearest restaurant or pharmacy) to a wireless hand-held device that delivers the information by Braille or voice.

When not working, May is an avid sportsman and a leading promoter of sporting activities for the blind. He holds gold and bronze medals for Alpine skiing for the blind. In Sarajevo in 1984 he became the first blind person ever to ski a demonstration run at the Winter Olympics and currently holds the world speed record for downhill skiing by a blind person, following a guide down expert slopes at 65 miles an hour. Off the slopes, he is an accomplished public speaker who has been commended at White House ceremonies on three separate occasions.

By nature adventurous, Mike May approached the eye surgery that restored his vision in March of 2000 in much the same spirit. "No one knew what to expect," he says of the two-part procedure, which was initially developed in Japan. During the first operation in November of 1999, surgeons at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco implanted adult stem cells obtained from a donor eye into May's right eye. (The left was too badly damaged to repair.) The stem cells regenerated damaged tissue in the eye, enabling surgeons to conduct a corneal transplant four months later. While this procedure had been successful for others, none of the previous patients had been blind for most of their lives and May's doctors couldn't tell him how much vision -- if any -- he'd regain.

Mike May holds the world speed record for downhill skiing by a blind person: 65 miles per hour. Two years later, May has very low vision in the repaired eye -- his vision has been measured as about 20/1000: using that eye, May can count fingers from a distance of four feet. But it appears to be his brain, and not his eye (which has healed successfully) that is the impediment. Growing up blind, May's visual cortex never learned to process the huge quantities of information that come to the brain through vision. For him, visual recognition is for the most part a slow and deliberate process; he recognizes his wife and children by processing a series of visual clues such as height, gait, and hair color. Change any one of those clues, and May would be unlikely to make the visual association in his brain.

It's uncertain whether his vision will improve with time. "I'm now low vision -- very low vision," says May, "and many people would think in this situation that their world was coming to an end. But you have to remember I'm approaching this from a different place." It is, he says, an amazing thing to see the different shades of color in his sons' eyes, to watch dust particles dance in a sunbeam, to see a butterfly in flight. "Some things are 100 percent visual, and I find them fascinating," he says. "Butterflies float around like bits of paper in the breeze. It's just amazing to watch." -- Mike Field

White House Honors for Henderson

The nation's highest civilian honor -- The Presidential Medal of Freedom -- was awarded in July to D.A. Henderson, SPH '60, former dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

White House photo by Paul Morse Henderson was the founding director of Hopkins' Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, and he was President Bush's choice to initially lead the new Office of Public Health Preparedness. He now serves as a top scientific advisor on bioterrorism.

Before coming to Hopkins, Henderson led the worldwide campaign to eradicate smallpox, and successfully implemented a World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination program that immunized 80 percent of the world's children against six major diseases.

Henderson received the National Medal of Science in 1986, and in 2000 he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. In all, 13 universities have conferred honorary degrees and 14 countries have honored him with awards and decorations. -- JJ

Fueling the "Twin Engines"

Last Winter, Maja Wessels, SAIS '82, was elected chair of the European Union Committee, a Belgian non-profit organization that represents the business interests of over 140 European companies of American parentage. As chair, Wessels is in effect the chief, non-governmental lobbyist for U.S. business concerns in Europe -- concerns that support over 3 million jobs with a total investment of some 570 billion U.S. dollars. In remarks to the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, Wessels said, "Given that the U.S. and the EU are the twin engines of the global economy, anything which strengthens the EU economy is good for the U.S. economy."

Toying Around With the Icons of Pop Culture

"I have a soft spot in my heart for Scooby," says Donald Kurz, A&S '77, about the crime-solving dog marketed by his company in conjunction with the classic television show and release of the Scooby Doo movie. "I also really love The Simpsons because they're creative and smart -- and Bart has always been a big seller for us."

Kurz is chairman and CEO of Equity Marketing, a global integrated marketing firm that licenses, develops, advertises, and markets promotions for Fortune 1000 companies with entertainment tie-ins. Equity's promotions include fast food children's toys, retail toys, and figurines of sports stars or other celebrities. Most are based on fictional characters or movies, such as the glowing, battery-powered Lord of the Rings goblets produced as a Burger King promotion, or toys based on Shrek or The Lion King.

Photo by Michele A. H. Smith Kurz joined Equity as executive vice president in 1990, became co-CEO in 1991, and CEO in 1999. With annual revenues of more than $200 million, Equity has offices on three continents, and a client list that includes Disney, Warner Brothers, Procter & Gamble, and Coca-Cola, as well as Burger King. Says Kurz, "We're always dealing with the icons of popular culture, so it's never a dreary environment."

A former Hopkins lacrosse player, Kurz was sidelined by a knee injury in his junior year, and made dancing part of his recovery. He was spotted by some representatives of the Arthur Murray dance studios in a nightclub and recruited to teach dancing, including "the Hustle," at the height of the disco craze. "I had fun, made good money, and it was a great way to meet women," he recalls. -- Jeanne Johnson

Jason "Crazy Legs" Conti, A&S '93
An Appetite for Competition

Crazy Legs" Conti can eat. A lot. In fact, his amateur oyster-eating exploits earned him such repute that he was actually recruited to join the International Federation of Competition Eating (IFOCE).

It was while watching the Superbowl at a New Orleans sports bar that he downed 34 dozen (that's 408) oysters, surpassing the previous record of 33 dozen oysters consumed by a single customer in a single sitting -- a feat that launched his professional eating career.

So what is it that separates everyday eaters from the pros? "You're eligible to compete for some of the top belts in the sport," says Conti.

One of the most famous annual competitive-eating events is Nathan's Famous Fourth of July World Hot Dog Eating Championship in Coney Island. During a weigh-in for the event, Conti met Mike Bloomberg, Eng '64, the mayor of New York and former chairman of the Hopkins board of trustees.

Illustration by Jane Sanders "I presented him with my football letter from Hopkins," Conti reports, "and told him that some of my best naps at Hopkins were in Bloomberg Hall." Although Bloomberg laughed and pledged his support for Conti in the contest, Conti was out of his league, eating only 18 hot dogs to the winner's 50.

Conti had better luck with pancakes. Earlier this year in Anchorage, Alaska, at the Hibernation Cup, he won the Lumberjack Breakfast event by eating 3.25 pounds of pancakes in 10 minutes. (The Hibernation Cup will be aired on the Discovery Channel in April as part of Gut Busters II.) He followed that up last April by winning the World Oyster Eating Championship held in New Orleans, where he ate 14 dozen of the slimy mollusks in 10 minutes.

Some might consider the "sport" to be nothing more than "speed gluttony" -- both wasteful and silly. Conti responds: "Competitive eating is raising the worldwide consciousness on the importance of food, and there's certainly not a lot of waste because very rarely, if ever, are there leftovers." The IFOCE's web page touts the pastime as being "among the most diverse, dynamic, and demanding sports in history," dating back to the earliest days of mankind. "If you have 30 hungry Neanderthals in a cave and a rabbit walks in, that is a competitive eating situation."

At 6 feet 3 inches and just 200 pounds, Conti is one of what he calls the "new breed" of lean and mean competitive eaters. He prepares for competition by fasting, and recovers by "having a beer and looking for the groupies."

Outside the eating business, the 31-year-old is a struggling screenwriter who pays his way by washing windows and modeling for art classes at Manhattan's Art Institute of Technology. -- Emily Richards

Investigating Crime in Alaska

The action in the cool state of Alaska isn't as hot as that portrayed on the TV series CSI, where complex cases are solved in less than an hour and investigators seem to be experts in everything, no matter how arcane. But crime scene technician Kerrie Cathcart, Engr '97, does find her job fascinating. Of CSI, she says, "We don't carry weapons or interview suspects, but we do use some of the same techniques and technology."

Cathcart specializes in latent fingerprints, meaning she uses alternate light sources with different filters and fluorescent dye to reveal latent fingerprints, lifts the fingerprints using powders, and compares them with those of known offenders stored in a computer database. She works with a forensic team to scour a crime scene, take photos, sketch the scene, gather evidence, and reconstruct the crime.

Cathcart works out of Anchorage, but her job often takes her to remote Alaskan villages. During her last homicide investigation she encountered severe Arctic weather that included 20-degree below temperatures and 40 mph winds. "In Alaska, you really have to be prepared for anything," she says. -- JJ

Book Review: Turning Gray Into Green

What U.S. city boasts the largest city park? In his quest to answer this simple question, Peter Harnik, A&S '70, embarked on a two-year research project. The result: an engrossing and comprehensive book that is a must for those who consider green space essential to quality of life.

Inside City Parks is the first-ever narrative and statistical look at the park systems of the 25 largest cities in the country. In addition to providing facts and figures, Harnik looks at the history, politics, and people behind parks and recreation, as well as how each park contributes to its city's character. He shows that city parks don't just happen. Making pleasant green spaces arise out of the congested byproducts of urban life usually requires a concerted and sustained effort on the part of those who envision, design, maintain, and pay for parks. He cites America's standard-bearer for parks -- New York's Central Park -- as a prime example.

"Although millions of parents have said to millions of children, 'This is what New York looked like before all the buildings were there,' Central Park (840 acres) is, in fact, almost as artificial as Disneyland," he notes in the book. "[Designers] Olmsted and Vaux employed 20,000 laborers, engineers, stonecutters, and gardeners to move three million cubic yards of dirt, plant 270,000 trees and shrubs, and dig six lakes." Likewise, Golden Gate Park (1,017 acres) in San Francisco was built on sand dunes only after enough clay, loam, and manure were hauled in to provide a two-and-a-half-foot covering for landscaping.

Rating the "biggest" of anything can involve tricky criteria, but Harnik did eventually discover the answer to his initial question. At 24,000 acres, Franklin Mountain State Park in El Paso can stake its claim as the largest city park in the United States. It is, after all, in Texas. -- JJ

From Soup to Nuts

History-major-turned-chef Robert James Dunn, A&S '96, accepted the position of executive chef at the Belmont Conference Center, outside of Washington D.C., two years ago. He plans the menus and prepares the food for groups ranging from 10 people to 500 -- from small business dinners to formal weddings to National Security picnics.

Dunn's culinary career began at a crab house outside of Baltimore. "I showed up the first day and shucked a 200-pound bag of clams," he remembers. From there, he moved to Baltimore's tony Polo Grill, near the Homewood campus, then gained a reputation as an up-and-comer during his tenure as chef at Pisces.

Although he doesn't often use cookbooks, Dunn does have a favorite: "Fanny Farmer. It's full of tried and true recipes. I also like flipping through a magazine. You look for major ingredients and then run with it your own way." -- ER

Shelf Life

Split: Stories From a Generation Raised on Divorce, edited by Ava Chin, A&S '01 (MA), Contemporary Books (2002)
One of the best recent examples of the pleasures of anthology, Split includes 17 diverse essays by writers in their 20s and 30s. Memories of their parents' divorces and ruminations on how such ruptures affected their lives are uniformly intimate and fascinating. Particularly poignant is "The Protracted Amicable Divorce," contributed by Hopkins grad Aaron Kunin, A&S '99.

Politics of Excellence: Behind the Nobel Prize in Science, by Robert Marc Friedman, A&S '79 (PhD), W. H. Freeman & Co. (2001)
History of science professor, meteorology expert, and TV screenwriter Friedman offers a history of the Nobel Prize beginning with Alfred Nobel's ambiguous bequest and the problems arising since. Included are reviews of laureates both deserving -- and not. -- Emily Richards

Charles Clarvit, A&S '78 & Ron Nordmann, A&S '63
Devoted Alums Share the Vision

Discussing current events with a cadre of intelligent, quick-witted people from throughout the world, late into the night. Exchanging jokes with 24 frat buddies. Playing lacrosse. Challenging himself to succeed because he's held to the highest standards. These are the memories that come to mind when Charles Clarvit (pictured at right) thinks about Hopkins.

These days, you're likely to find Clarvit discussing business with a client, traveling with his family, or coaching his son's lacrosse team. As much as he enjoys his life now, he's quick to admit that he misses those late night discussions and the camaraderie of the Hopkins experience. "Those were very defining years that taught me how to compete at a very high level and contributed to my success," says Clarvit. "Hopkins also opened up my mind to the world."

But Clarvit hasn't entirely left Hopkins behind. "After my parents, Hopkins is the second most important influence in my life," he says. "Just as a parent wants to provide for a child and a child will do anything to give back to a parent, I want to give back to Hopkins."

Clarvit is now a principal with Quellos, a money management investment firm that handles billions of dollars in assets. He's also the campaign co-chair for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, sharing the role with Ron Nordmann, A&S '63.

During last spring's May 4 campaign kick-off, Clarvit asked those in attendance at the Krieger School luncheon to close their eyes and take an imaginary campus tour. "Walk onto campus from University Parkway," he told listeners. "Walk on the brick paths past the athletic fields past the new recreation center and student arts center," he said, leading his listeners on a journey that illustrated how the campus has been enriched by improvements that often result from private philanthropy.

"It's clear to me that Hopkins has taken a step up in a dramatic way," he says.

The Krieger School's top campaign priorities are faculty support, scholarships, and The Humanities Initiative -- aimed at strengthening Hopkins' distinctive programs and renovating Gilman Hall. "Gilman is the heart and soul of campus," Clarvit says. "It's the building that most represents Hopkins, and next to the library, it's where those of us in arts and sciences spent most of our time." Clarvit counts the enhancement of Gilman as a critical priority, especially for the humanities departments that will benefit from renewed collegiality and accessibility. Scholarships, he observes, "equalize opportunity" and help attract brilliant people of all economic backgrounds.

Clarvit has committed $1 million to support the humanities and Gilman Hall renovation, as well as the new Center for Financial Economics.

As a person who deals with money on a daily basis, Clarvit has developed a personal financial philosophy that embraces philanthropy. "It's my philosophy that after you provide for yourself and your family, you need to give, both while you're alive and after you're gone," he says. "After all, isn't that the kind of legacy that really counts?"

When Ron Nordmann (pictured at right) helped his daughter, Jodi, move into her Hopkins dorm room freshman year, he ran into pediatric surgeon Michael Ratner, A&S '64, who had been his roommate 30 years earlier. Ratner introduced his son, a sophomore. "I have to admit I had a tear in my eye," says Nordmann. "It was a very moving moment for me."

Such passage-of-time moments often cause people to reflect upon the decisions they've made. Both father and daughter agree that the decision to attend Hopkins was a great one. "I hope it's the start of a long family tradition," says the elder Nordmann.

"A friend of mine at Hopkins introduced me to my wife of 36 years, and my daughter and I have both made wonderful, lifelong friends at Hopkins. Also, I benefited from a quality education that expanded my mind and goals. I didn't realize it at the time," says Nordmann, "but those were years of great growth that really helped me get out of the starting gate during the tentative early years of my career."

A financial analyst and portfolio manager specializing in the pharmaceutical industry, Nordmann retired in 1999 from Deerfield Management, a New York investment firm. Jodi Nordmann is a clinical psychologist in Downers Grove, Illinois.

A desire to make the Hopkins experience available to others is what motivated Nordmann in 1999 to endow $1 million for undergraduate scholarships. Each year, the Ronald M. Nordmann '63 and Jodi E. Nordmann '93 Undergraduate Scholarship Fund in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences makes a Hopkins education available to students who otherwise would not be able to afford to study here.

Recently elected to the University's Board of Trustees, he agreed to co-chair Hopkins' Knowledge for the World campaign in the Krieger School.

"One of the goals of the campaign is to refurbish and enhance Gilman Hall, and it's long overdue," says Nordmann. "When my daughter took me on a campus tour in 1993 I was struck by the many positive changes and beauty of campus, but Gilman Hall looked much the same as when I was a student."

During his career, Nordmann has interviewed many graduates from some of the best universities in the world. "All of them are bright and intelligent, but Hopkins students seem to be at a higher level in terms of their ability to write and communicate," he says. "Maybe it's the breadth of the coursework, the close interaction with faculty, and the flexibility of being at a comparatively small institution. Whatever the reasons, Hopkins is clearly one of the great universities in the world." -- JJ

Restoration of the historical and iconic Gilman Hall as the focal point of scholarship in the humanities will include...

Preserving and enhancing the Hutzler Reading Room and integrating this historic space with faculty and teaching spaces.

Creating new seminar rooms and enhancing existing ones in order to involve more students in Hopkins' distinctive method of seminar instruction.

Installing the archaeological collection -- one of Hopkins' treasures -- in a proper museum space.

Transforming the dark, inner core of the building into a bright, fluid space connecting levels -- and hence, people and ideas.

Reclaiming much-needed academic space by relocating non-academic services to other buildings.

Memories: Saying Good-bye to Brooks

A parent spends the better part of his lifetime bringing up his child to be a confident, self-sufficient adult. Why is it then so hard to let go when a child makes his first move out of the nest?

In September, my son Brooks, the youngest of my three children, began his freshman year at Hopkins. On arrival day, we inched our way in the endless line of cars that formed all the way from University Parkway to the unloading zone in front of the freshman dorms. I felt even more anticipation than my son. The chaos of moving him into his room, together with the familiarity of the place, gave me a glimpse of life's treasured moments.

The next hours were filled with unpacking, decorating, searching for additional extension cords, and having a sandwich at a familiar spot on St. Paul Street. Then it was time to part ways with Brooks, at least until the morning when I would return for our real goodbye before my eight-hour drive back to Rhode Island. He headed back to Gildersleeve dorm and I wandered off to get reacquainted with "my" old campus.

The Gordon family (l to r): wife Jan, daughter Meredith, Brooks, daughter Hope, and proud dad Jeff I followed the new brick walkway from the front of the dorms and headed toward the lower campus, passing the Eisenhower Library. I stopped to look down the long vista toward Shriver Hall from the classical marble staircase on the upper level, and recalled the cherry blossoms during those tantalizing spring days. New herringbone-pattern brick pathways lead to new brick buildings tucked behind familiar older ones. Everything looked so Georgian and extremely elegant. Even the grass hadn't shown the wear and tear of thousands of footprints yet. I walked back from Shriver toward Gilman, passing Levering Hall where so many of those demonstrations were held back in my day. Levering has had a face-lift, and it, too, has a certain elegance now with its new brick plaza.

Behind Gilman, the road swings around to the President's House, and from that vantage point, one can see the distinctive bay windows of the Hutzler Reading Room. How many hours did I spend there trying to stay awake with endless pages to read? I pictured my son struggling with the same books. As I took the turn toward the Johns Hopkins Club, I remembered fondly a dinner there nearly 30 years ago with my former advisor and mentor, Dr. John Walton. He had invited me to the club for a wonderful evening that remains a highlight of my memory of that great man. Few could match his wonderful charm and wit. He even came to my wedding in Washington and gave me an art book that I still cherish.

Continuing on my tour, from a distance I could see San Martin Drive, the winding, tree-lined road on the western side of the campus where vestiges of the stately trees I remembered now mingle with new architecture, all framed by a fire-red sunset that evening. I strolled up to the new O'Connor Recreation Center recently added to the Newton White Athletic Center and marveled at the variety of facilities my son would have at his access. A passing moment of envy, but I fought it off. I wandered by Homewood Field, the shrine to Hopkins' lacrosse dynasty. Now walking by that field, I could almost hear the crowds of those great lacrosse games over the years and Gebby's band still playing.

I headed out of the campus gates straight across University Parkway to my hotel room at the Colonnade. I knew tomorrow would be tough.

Sunday brought heavy rain that seemed to match my mood that morning. I checked out of the hotel, got the car out of the garage, and joined Brooks for some pizza. As I looked across the table at this new college freshman, images of his childhood swept over me. The tree house, his first bicycle, Little League, the annual first-day-of-school photograph all rushed through my mind as random memories. I was fighting back this overwhelming urge to get up and hug him, but I knew he might wonder what had gotten into his father. So we talked about his first days and whom he had met. A young man and his mother came over to our table and Brooks introduced him to me: a friend by name already; that was a good sign.

Lunch ended, and I reluctantly admitted that I should get started on the long drive home. We walked out to the car parked behind the snack bar, and with that hug I had wanted to give him a few moments earlier, I found that I could not let go. Neither could he. Words were not easy, but they came out as I hoped they would: use your head, always take the high road, and most of all, I love you. He smiled, and I knew everything would be all right. I got in the car, we waved, and I was off, my job complete. -- Jeffrey L. Gordon, A&S '73

Alumni Around the World

United States

Baltimore Chapter
Saturday, November 2: Battlefields of Gettysburg guided tour and luncheon

Sunday, November 3: Travel Program Féte. Learn about upcoming trips to exotic places, visit traveling faculty, and reunite with fellow travelers

Wednesday, November 13: Centre Club Luncheon with Guy McKhann, M.D.

Monday, November 18: The Art of Joseph Sheppard

Friday, December 13: Dinner & Peabody Orchestra performance

Cleveland Chapter
Tuesday, November 12: Reception with Peter Whitehouse, M.D.

Florida Chapter
Monday, November 11: Reception with Professor Eliot Cohen

Massachusetts Chapter
Saturday, December 7: "The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt" with Professor Betsy M. Bryan (pictured at right) at the Museum of Science

New York Metro Chapter
Saturday, November 9: "Hopkins Today" at The University Club with President Brody, eminent Hopkins archaeologist Betsy Bryan, Chair of the Asia Caucasus Institute at SAIS S. Frederick Starr, and Chair of the Department of Medicine Myron L. Weisfeldt

Philadelphia Chapter
Tuesday, November 19: "Keep Your Brain Young" with Guy McKhann, M.D., and Marilyn Albert, M.D.

Pittsburgh Chapter
Friday, November 1: Annual Alumni Dinner

Rochester Chapter
Thursday, November 7: Reception with Engineering Dean Ilene Busch-Vishniac

San Diego Chapter
Thursday, December 5: Annual Holiday Party

San Francisco Chapter
Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3: Overnight at Alcatraz

Washington D.C. Chapter
Saturday, November 9: Lunch and tour of the International Spy Museum

Tuesday, December 10: Dinner and Lecture: "Who Needs Civility?" with Professor P.M. Forni (pictured at right), founder of The Johns Hopkins Civility Project and author of the book Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct


Saturday, December 7: World premiere of Sophie's Choice, the opera, with reception to follow


Thursday, December 5: "The Power of Partnership" lecture

Then & Now:
Getting it Down on Paper

Peabody archivist Elizabeth Schaaf remembers when Peabody students with neat handwriting could pay their way through school by copying composers' sloppy or hard-to-read music notation into something legible and tidy. "Just because you're a brilliant composer," Schaaf points out, "it doesn't necessarily follow that you produce gorgeous manuscripts."

Today's music notation software, with titles like Finale and Sibelius, takes a copyist's place. The computer programs, which become more sophisticated every few months, can translate a touch of the keyboard (electronic music keyboards and computer keyboards alike) into typeset quality scores. "Notation software has enabled many composers to become their own publishers, with just a printer and a computer," says McGregor Boyle, composer and professor of computer music at Peabody.

A Peabody student utiltizes the latest music notation software The software can also digitally play back a composition, letting a composer hear, for instance, how the flute and violin and cello parts sound together. And perhaps the biggest benefit of notation software is how easy it makes revision. "It's hard to imagine what a tremendous impact that makes," Boyle says. "Before, when you had to hand copy all the flute parts, or the violin parts, it tended to make it very difficult to revise a score. If you heard something you didn't like, not only did you have to rewrite it, but recopy all the affected parts."

Despite the advantages, not all Peabody composers feel a need to use the software, and Peabody students, including the 35 composition majors, are still encouraged to learn the traditional method of music notation.

"The Star Spangled Banner," as arranged by Asger Hamerik, Peabody director from 1871 to 1898.
Says Peabody Director Robert Sirota, "As a composer, I'm aiming to work as fast as I can, and for me, that's still at the keyboard with a pencil."

Sirota, who happens to be blessed with a fine, quick hand, hasn't wanted to take the considerable time required to learn the software. But when he's completed a piece of music (most recently for string quartet), he hires notators to input his handwritten work into Finale, giving him a score that can be saved on his computer, easily reproduced, and more readily revised. Students with tidy handwriting may no longer be in demand, but ones who know how to use the software are. -- ER

A Wee Bit O' Fun for the Kiddies

Ten of the 28 Hopkins travelers on this September's trip to Ireland were children. The tour, sponsored by the Alumni Office, was specially designed for families with children and provided activities and tours of special interest to lovers of folk tales, magic, and lore.

Another child-friendly trip is coming up on the Hopkins travel roster next summer: Nottingham & York, a Family Learning Adventure in England, July 26 to August 5, 2003. All 21 of the 2003 Hopkins alumni trips are listed online at

Distinguished Alumnus Awards

Recognizes personal, professional, or humanitarian achievement

Helene Gayle, SPH '81, an expert on infectious diseases, for six years has directed the Centers for Disease Control's primary center for AIDS, other STDs, and tuberculosis prevention. Recently she was appointed senior advisor for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has committed more than $300 million for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

Heritage Award

Recongizes outstanding service to Johns Hopkins University

A. James Clark is chairman and CEO of Clark Enterprises, the Bethesda, Maryland, parent company of the Clark Construction Group, the nation's largest privately held general building contractor. A Johns Hopkins trustee, he generously funded the construction of Clark Hall at Homewood, home of the new Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Institute.

Alumni awards are presented to alumni and firends at events throughout the year. Deadline for nominations: December 1.

Return to November 2002 Table of Contents

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