The Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 19, 2001
February 19, 2001
VOL. 30, NO. 22


Undergraduate Program to Begin at Villa Spelman in Florence

By Leslie Rice Masterman
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Hopkins undergraduates now have the enviable opportunity to stroll down the Ponte Vecchio on their way to their afternoon history class and to do their homework in the garden of the Villa Spelman, with its views of olive groves and Florence's medieval church of San Miniato al Monte.

Once reserved for graduate students and scholarly conferences and seminars, beginning next fall the Villa Spelman, Hopkins' picturesque 15th-century villa that overlooks the city of Florence, also will become a campus for Hopkins undergraduates wishing to spend a semester abroad. Applications are now being accepted for students to earn 15 credits studying language, history, art and literature at the villa. They also will be encouraged to take advantage of SAIS's Bologna Center, about an hour away, where they can take courses in international relations.

There are already many opportunities for Hopkins undergraduates to study abroad, but nearly all are arranged through consortiums with other American universities or through exchange programs with foreign universities.

"What makes this such a great opportunity is that it is a Hopkins program--all the courses will be taught by Hopkins faculty members, and it is only for Hopkins undergraduates," said Steven David, associate dean for academic affairs who was instrumental is getting the program off the ground.

During their semester abroad, students will live with Italian families and have classes at the villa. During the program's opening semester, Hopkins professor Louis Galambos will teach courses in history and globalization. Other courses will be taught by adjunct professors and Hopkins graduate students on teaching fellowships.

"We feel that the study abroad program will broaden the scope of what is already being done at Villa Spelman," David said. "Undergraduates will be able to take advantage of the traditional art history focus in the spring; in the fall, Villa Spelman will have a European focus. Florence is a marvelous place to study, and the Villa Spelman is an incredible place. There is no doubt in my mind that it will broaden our undergraduates, and having the younger students studying there will broaden the villa."

Students who wish to study at the villa should contact Meme Irwin at 410-516-7230 or The deadline for applications is March 12.

To learn more about the Villa Spelman, go to