Johns Hopkins Magazine - April 1994 Issue

Editor's Note

A few of you may remember that I had left the magazine in 1987. I'd been editor since 1972, and long enough seemed long enough. So when I came back in 1989, the editor having left, I only intended to stay long enough to keep the magazine in good shape and hand it on. "Put it in good hands," were the words in my mind.

One thing led to another and I was having fun, so I stayed. Now, though, I have achieved my goal, and Sue De Pasquale, managing editor for the last two years, has become the editor: good hands indeed.

I am proud to say I had the good sense to hire Sue as assistant editor, back in 1990. Before coming to work at the Alumni Magazine Consortium here at Hopkins, she had won the Sophie Kerr Prize at Washington College (the largest monetary award in the nation for undergraduate writers), then gone on to earn a master's degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. It's been a pleasure to watch her grow, as writer, editor, and manager. On a magazine with such a tiny staff, the editor has to be all three, and the combination is not common.

Sue has it, though: The magazine has come out on time for the last year, without typos, and with the whole staff happy. That was thanks to Sue, as managing editor.

To get some sense of her as a writer, you've only to look at her piece in this issue about hidden letters from 1830s France, on page 12. Or to remember her piece in the last issue on Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, the social anthropologist who serves as "godmother" to two children from Baltimore's projects.

Sue is also a fine editor, though I cannot point you to examples. That's because editing, done right, consists precisely of not putting your individual stamp on a work. To edit, one acts as servant to the writer, helping the work become the very best it can be of its own kind. That self-abnegation is not something all writers can bring themselves to do. Sue De Pasquale, however, can.

So, dear readers, you have good things coming. It is a pleasure to hand over the Hopkins magazine to such a fine successor.

Especially since I won't be gone--I've only stepped down. I am now "senior editor," which means I still get to play in the sandbox. I can talk to all the fascinating faculty and alumni. I can write and edit, play with ideas--all I'm missing is the responsibility. Which I don't miss.

I would, however, miss hearing from those of you who write me from time to time. Please keep on writing. Every school attracts, then shapes, a particular range of personalities, and Hopkins alumni are distinguished by supreme niceness, common sense, and a propensity to dig. You are not content with half the story.

It has been a privilege to edit a magazine for such a group, and I thank you for listening all these years.

Elise Hancock

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