With a dramatic illumination ceremony designed to symbolize John Hopkins' commitment to the downtown business community, the new Downtown Center of the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education was dedicated shortly after sundown on March 12.
University president William R. Brody officiated at the ceremony, during which all the lights in the translucent glass-walled building at Charles and Fayette streets were fully illuminated, turning the 35,000-square-foot structure with its computer-enriched "smart" classrooms and labs, conference rooms and auditorium into the "lantern of learning" it is meant to be.
The new center is the headquarters of the faculty and staff of the university's Graduate Division of Business and Management and home to its graduate business programs, which include the MBA, Master of Science in Finance, Information Technology, Marketing, Real Estate, Organizational Development and Human Resources, Police Executive Leadership, Business of Medicine and Business of Nursing, as well as postgraduate certificate programs.
"The programs housed in this building will provide a service to the professionals working in the community and help to support local companies," Ralph Fessler, dean of SPSBE, told the gathering.
Mayor Martin O'Malley of Baltimore and university trustee Donald Shepard, president and CEO of Aegon Corp., also spoke at the ceremony. Brody presented an engraved crystal bowl to Dean Emeritus Stanley C. Gabor, honoring the former SPSBE dean's vision and leadership in fostering the development of the new Downtown Center. Brody also presented the first Leadership Award of the university's Allan L. Berman Real Estate Institute, to Peter G. Angelos, Baltimore attorney and university trustee emeritus.
The award, a sculpture by John Safer, recognizes Angelos' "significant and dynamic role in the new Baltimore renaissance" and his "vision and commitment to the continuing revitalization of the Baltimore Metropolitan region," Brody said.
Angelos also addressed the business leaders, educators and students invited to the dedication. Among the attendees were Mac and Helen Passano and their daughters Catherine, Tamara and Sarah Passano; Jackie Hrabowski, vice president, community outreach, for T. Rowe Price Associates; Gina Hirschorn, senior vice president and manager Nonprofit Division for Bank of America; and Kelly Hodge-Williams, executive director for Sylvan Learning Foundation.
The building, former headquarters of Hamburger's clothing stores, was completely redesigned by Ziger/Snead Architects of Baltimore. Principal architect Steve Ziger has said that he sought to create a building that is "dynamic and open and exciting."
The three-story atrium is connected by an open granite stairway to state-of-the-art classroom and conference facilities. Housed on the second floor are the Jean R. and Allan L. Berman Auditorium and the Stanley C. Gabor Executive Conference Room.
The building has seven "smart" classrooms equipped with integrated multimedia stations. In addition, there are two computer labs with the latest equipment that will accommodate business technology classes. In the large hallway outside the lower level classrooms, 16 more computer workstations are available for student use. An electronic library and a bookstore also are located on the lower level.
Integral to the exterior is a 210-foot-long, 14-inch-tall electronic news ticker that wraps around the Charles and Fayette street facades in a manner reminiscent of the sign in New York's Times Square. It broadcasts Bloomberg News information 24 hours a day.
The center opened for classes in January.