Johns Hopkins Magazine - April 1995 Issue

On Campuses

Enterprise in East Baltimore, etc.

East Baltimore neighborhood to get $100 million

Johns Hopkins is playing a major role in helping Baltimore revitalize one of its most impoverished neighborhoods through a $100 million federal empowerment zone grant. In December, Baltimore became one of six cities to garner the coveted grant, which was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city will target the funding to three neighborhoods, including a 380-square-block region around Hopkins's East Baltimore medical campus.

Hopkins officials and community residents say they hope the award will do everything from generating educational opportunities for youth to making the neighborhood safer. But mostly, says Michael Siepp, director of the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition, "I'd have to say the top three goals are jobs, jobs, and jobs." The unemployment rate in Baltimore's empowerment zones is 17 percent, and almost half the residents live in poverty.

Many Hopkins employees have been brainstorming plans for the empowerment zone. Just two of the Hopkins strategies for moving East Baltimore from a distressed to a healthy neighborhood are:

Hopkins's motivation for working on the empowerment zone stems partly from its historic mission to help care for local residents, both in terms of providing access to healthcare and offering economic opportunities, says Rich Grossi, the School of Medicine's senior associate dean for finance and administration. It's also a matter of self-preservation, he admits. A depressed neighborhood is bad for business. "People don't need to listen to the news too many nights to hear there's been a fatal shooting in East Baltimore," says Grossi. Such news can deter people living outside East Baltimore from venturing to Hopkins for health services. --MH

Astro-2: Countdown to blast-off

Maybe the jittery picture on the big screen at Schafler Auditorium was a metaphor for the ambient angst, the sense of nervous anticipation for those watching the Astro-2 countdown.

It was late Wednesday night, March 1, and 200 or so spectators at Hopkins's Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy had turned out to watch NASA television's live coverage from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Astro-2, a package of three ultraviolet telescopes (including the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, or HUT, designed and built by Hopkins astrophysicists and engineers) was scheduled for a 1:37 a.m. launch on March 2 aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.

A camera recorded the seven crew members suiting up. Astrophysicist Sam Durrance, Hopkins's first and only astronaut, cheerfully held up a note to say goodbye to his wife, Becky, and two children, Susan, 10, and Benjamin, 13. Astronomers Hal Weaver and Nolan Walborn, from Hopkins's Space Telescope Science Institute, were on hand to show slides about ultraviolet astronomy and HUT.

But then the crowd, a mix of Hopkins faculty, community members, and science-minded students, settled back in their seats and listened to the NASA commentary. They didn't seem to mind the shaky picture on the large screen (a small technical difficulty).

Lousy weather in Florida all day had threatened to delay Endeavour's departure on the 16-day mission to probe celestial sources of mysterious ultra- violet radiation. Astro-1, the observ- atory's debut in 1990, had a frustrating history of constant delays going back to 1983.

Mindful of that legacy, some people remained determined to see Endeavour off. "I'll be here; I brought my homework for the next couple of days," said Trisha Borgman, a 20-year-old physics major from Arizona.

It was Ash Wednesday, and Dick King, who met Durrance years ago at the Second Presbyterian Church, came out to join the celebration. "It's been a long day," said King. He started with a 7:30 a.m. church breakfast.

As it turned out, he wouldn't be waiting much longer. The countdown proceeded smoothly, and Endeavour blasted into space just one minute behind schedule.

A few minutes later, the crowd cheered as the two solid-fuel rocket boosters were jettisoned.

Astro-2 was on its way. --EV

Tuition on the rise

Undergraduates in the schools of Arts & Sciences and Engineering will see tuition increase by 5.1 percent next year, to $19,750. That figure, coupled with increases in room and board and books and personal expenses will bring the total annual cost of a Hopkins undergraduate education to $28,250. This year 56 percent of Hopkins undergraduates received some form of financial aid.

This tuition rate will also apply to other categories of students, including full-time graduate students in Arts & Sciences and Engineering, doctoral students at SAIS, doctoral and some master's degree students at Nursing and at Public Health, and PhD students in Medicine.

Tuition increases in other full-time programs range from 5 percent (to $19,425) for master's candidates at SAIS, to 7.1 percent (to $15,000) for undergraduates and some master's degree candidates in Nursing. First-year Medical School students will pay the highest tuition at Hopkins: $21,800. That figure will remain fixed, however, for each of their four years.

New athletic director named

In the course of his career in athletic administration, Tom Calder has been around. He's coached or worked at Roanoke College, the University of North Carolina, the NCAA offices in Kansas, Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, and Hopkins. His goal, he says, has been to become athletic director at a Division III school.

On July 1, he gets his wish when he becomes the new AD at Hopkins. He will succeed longtime director Bob Scott, who is retiring after 46 years at the university. Calder has been associate athletic director at Hopkins since 1988.

"It's something I've been working for ever since I graduated from college," Calder says of his new job.

Dean of students Susan K. Boswell chaired the search committee that selected Calder from among eight candidates. "Tom had a better under- standing of the program here than anybody," Boswell says. "A real key was being able to step into Bob Scott's shoes. Bob Scott and the athletic program are kind of inseparable. The ability to step into that position and not get lost in it was critical."

Calder takes over an intercollegiate athletics program that annually contends for the national championship in Division I men's lacrosse, and that over the last several years has fielded championship-caliber teams in men's and women's basketball; men's baseball, soccer, and swimming; women's lacrosse; and water polo. Given the success of this broad array of programs, Calder says one of his priorities is to retain the coaches of these various teams.

The most pressing need, he says, is to improve recreational opportunities for all students. "We need a student recreation center," he says. "We're bursting at the seams." The university is currently raising funds for a new rec center, to relieve the overcrowding at the Newton H. White Athletic Center.

Though he has worked at a major big-school program (North Carolina), Calder says he prefers a more modest Division III program, such as the one at Hopkins. He can involve himself in more of the nuts-and-bolts aspects of intercollegiate sports, including fundraising, alumni relations, and basic administration, he says. And there's another plus for him at a smaller program: "Here I'm able to go to a lot of the games." --DK

Women hoopsters advance to NCAA tournament

The Hopkins women's basketball team made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament in March. At press time, the Jays had won their first-round game against Ursinus College, 77-67, and defeated their second-round opponent, Montclair State, 75-58. Their record through the Montclair game was 22-6, the most wins ever for a Hopkins basketball team--men's or women's.

Throughout the season the team relied on teamwork and a consistent, deep lineup, rather than a single star player. In the tournament game against Montclair State, starter and co-captain Karen Hoffman '95 couldn't play due to an ankle injury she sustained in the match against Ursinus. So Julie Anderson '98 came in and scored 12. Amy Dodrill '95, the team's other co- captain, says, "There's not one player that pulls us out. It has to be all of us. Since we're not a one-player team, we're hard to defend against."

Coach Nancy Blank relied on Dodrill and Hoffman, the team's only seniors, for leadership. Both were named to the all- Centennial Conference team. They also scored plenty of points. Dodrill led the Jays with an average 15 points per game. Hoffman was the team's third-leading scorer, averaging 12.9 per game, and she led in rebounds and set new school records for steals and assists.

Hoffman says the team's second game against Gettysburg College in February was the season's turning point: "They beat us on their court by four points earlier in the season. When Coach Blank came into the locker room before the game, she just looked at us and said she knew we were ready. There was nothing else to say. We beat them by 29 points. Everyone on the team stepped up and was ready to play."

Though Hoffman and Dodrill graduate this spring, the Jays will have a new star in guard Angie Arnold '98. Arnold was second-leading scorer this year, averaging 14.3 points per game. Her total points through the Ursinus game, 387, destroyed the freshman scoring record of 291, set by all-time leading women's scorer Sylke Knuppel in 1989-90. --LD

A "Hopkins legend" dies

Robert H. Levi '36, former vice chair of the Hopkins board of trustees, died in February of heart failure. "Bob Levi was a Hopkins legend," says President William C. Richardson. "Few alumni have been as devoted to this university as he was."

A staunch supporter of Hopkins and of the Peabody Conservatory, Levi was also known for his thoughtful efforts on behalf of Baltimore--he was a founder of the Greater Baltimore Committee, often credited with the resurgence of the downtown-- and for philanthropy in the arts. He and his wife created a sculpture garden at the Baltimore Museum of Art, donating art from their own garden by Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, and others.

Levi had been president of the Hecht Company, at the time the largest retail business in Maryland, and later vice chairman of the Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. --EH

Learning from Barney

If children learn about safety in a fun way, say, for example, by watching a friendly purple dinosaur, they may listen, and even follow those lessons as they grow older. That's the principle behind a new video featuring the famous life-size dinosaur named Barney. Boosters, a preventive medicine organization based at the School of Public Health, advised the producers of the video, the Lyons Group, which owns and operates Barney.

Boosters's mission is to promote health and safety for young children by "marrying the expertise of the School of Public Health with that of entertainment experts," says the organization's founder, Louis Hugo Francescutti, a resident in preventive medicine.

The group tries to reach children at a very young age, says Stephen Teret, faculty advisor to Boosters and professor of health policy and management at Public Health. "Then they will become safe and healthy adults."

In the new video, which is expected to be on store shelves this month, Barney chats and sings with a group of children about such things as wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle and calling 911 in case of an emergency. Boosters also helped create a booklet that accompanies the video. Aimed at parents, the booklet provides tips for preventing various injuries both at the individual and community levels. It describes, for example, how parents can help lobby for laws that require bicyclists to wear helmets.

The Barney video is just the first of many projects that the Boosters have planned, says Francescutti. The group is now consulting with the Children's Television Workshop, producers of Sesame Street. So tune in to Big Bird for your kids' next health and safety tips. --MH

The key to fun at Hopkins these days? A cappella singing

As a winter breeze whips across the freshman quad, undergraduates in thick jackets file into Mudd and Bloomberg Halls, first in knots of four and five, then in lines of 40 and 50. Subdued conversations turn into loud banter as the crowds swell in both auditoriums. At 8:15 p.m., the doors close. Over 800 students, roughly one-sixth of all Hopkins undergraduates, have squeezed into the two venues. Three hours later the doors will fly open to the sounds of applause and excited chatter.

No, these aren't pep rallies for the Hopkins lacrosse team, or cram sessions for the MCATs. These students have turned out for a pair of a cappella concerts, each headlined by a group of Hopkins undergraduate singers.

The Octopodes (pronounced ak-top-po-deez) have filled nearly three-quarters of the Bloomberg Auditorium for "Appetite for A Cappella," a charity event benefiting the Maryland Food Bank and including, besides the Hopkins singers, groups from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Meanwhile, a crowd estimated at 600 crammed into the 362-capacity Mudd Hall to watch two other Hopkins groups, the Allnighters and the Sirens, sing with ensembles from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia.

A cappella singing has caught on at Hopkins, in a big way.

Four years ago, the Octopodes were the sole campus a cappella singers. Now Homewood boasts four groups: the coed Octopodes and Mental Notes, the all-male Allnighters, and the all-female Sirens. An Allnighters concert last fall, announced only two days before it took place, turned the library's Garrett Room into a standing-room-only venue, while the second-ever show of the Mental Notes packed the Great Hall so tightly that the crowd spilled over into the Levering lobby. Collectively, the groups have sold 750 copies of their recent recordings. Assistant director of residential life Wendy Hermann notes that her office didn't even try to counter-program against the pair of December concerts.

"We've been talking to the other groups about having an all- campus concert," said Delee Har '95, musical director for the Allnighters. "The question is then, 'Is there a room on campus big enough?'"

Similar to Ivy League campuses, which routinely support multiple a cappella groups (14 at University of Pennsylvania, for instance, 9 at Princeton), Hopkins has hit a seemingly unstoppable stride. More groups only seem to foster larger audiences.

When Har came to Hopkins, he dropped the a cappella singing and arranging he had done in high school to devote time to his premed curriculum. Unhappy and prepared to transfer by the next semester, he discovered "groups of guys all over who just got together to sing." Soon, the Alley Cats were born and began to perform, with Har arranging the group's material. Today, as the Allnighters (renamed when members discovered a Yale ensemble already calling itself the Alley Cats), the group has 13 male members. In January, they toured the East Coast, singing at the White House and outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, prior to a taping of Late Night with David Letterman.

Last fall's birth of the Mental Notes and the Sirens mirrors that of the Allnighters. As he waited to audition for the Octopodes, Mike Wiesenfeld '97 asked others in line: "If we don't make it, why don't we start our own group?" He ended up founding the Mental Notes with 13 other singers who met at the audition. The group, says tenor David Thomas '95, will "try anything other groups haven't done"-- including country, soul, rap, and jazz.

Ani Pahlawanian '96 saw a dearth of opportunities for female singers. "It was either make the Octopodes or wait until the campus musical came around," she says. So she held auditions for the Sirens. That group debuted on December 9.

The 16-member Octopodes was the first of the groups to form in 1990. (Prior to that, a cappella had not existed on campus since the mid-'80s, when the Hopkins A Cappella Choir disbanded.)The Octopodes's repertoire first consisted of its own arrangements of do-wop songs (such as "Under the Boardwalk") and standards of professional groups such as Manhattan Transfer and the Nylons ("Up the Ladder to the Roof"). The group has since expanded its repertoire to include material such as "Linger" by the Cranberries, the modern Irish rock band, and "We Belong," by '80s pop star Pat Benatar.

Singers from other campuses have taken notice of the surge in interest at Hopkins. "Before, groups used to skip right over Hopkins when touring down the coast," says Har. "Now they stop here." One such group was the Tufts University Beelzebubs, winners of the 1993 CASA (Contemporary A cappella Society of America) Award for best group. They performed on campus last April.

"Hopkins was one of our best concerts in years," says Beelzebubs member John McCue. "The audience was wild and enthusiastic, and the Allnighters are great hosts. We'd definitely go back."

Although every Hopkins group has a sizable majority of trained singers, many with majors and minors at the Peabody Conservatory and previous a cappella experience, all include students from a variety of other departments, including History, Computer Science, and the Writing Seminars.

"At a school as pre-professionally oriented as Hopkins, there needs to be an outlet, a place where we can laugh and sing and dance and cheer," says Har. "Deep down, we're all kids and need a chance to be kids." --KS

Written by Sue De Pasquale, Lisa Dicker '95, Elise Hancock, Melissa Hendricks, Dale Keiger, Kevin Smokler '95, and Emil Venere.

Send EMail to Johns Hopkins Magazine

Return to table of contents.