Johns Hopkins Gazette | April 27, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 27, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 32
Honoring Our Founders

Artisan Jeff DiMeglio puts the final touches on the Founders Wall, a monument that chronicles transformational giving throughout Johns Hopkins' history.
Photo by Renee Fischer

Monument celebrating philanthropy to be dedicated at Homewood

By Karen Rivers
Development and Alumni Relations

This weekend Johns Hopkins will unveil a new campus landmark honoring generations of philanthropic visionaries and celebrating a tradition of giving that goes back to our founder himself.

The Johns Hopkins Founders Wall, made of marble and brick and stretching 104 feet in front of Garland Hall on Homewood's Decker Quadrangle, is engraved with the names of the institution's most generous supporters. Listed first is Johns Hopkins, whose 1873 bequest of $7 million created a university and hospital in his name. The list continues 106 names long, with a chronological order of donors whose philanthropy at Johns Hopkins has matched or exceeded his founding gift.

President Ron Daniels noted that the wall is purposefully positioned to greet visitors and serve as an important reminder of the central role that these donors and their philanthropy play at Johns Hopkins.

"Johns Hopkins owes its very existence and its global prominence to the people on this wall," he said. "Looking at this list is like looking at a timeline, a history, of Hopkins' continued growth and achievements. These are donors who transformed this institution. They built labs, offices, classrooms and entire buildings. They were the catalysts for medical research that saved lives. They provided scholarships to scores of deserving students."

One such student is Jerome "Axle" Brown, a Hodson-Gilliam Success Scholar and a senior in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences who plans to pursue a career in public service. "Having directly benefited from scholarship funds, I know firsthand the importance of our university's most generous donors," Brown said. The Hodson Trust is one of the many scholarship supporters counted among the benefactors listed on the wall.

Plans for the monument began in late 2007 and construction began last summer. For months, three artisans have been hard at work off-site, chiseling names into the marble.

The names engraved on the Founders Wall include individuals, families, foundations and corporations. The donors come from Baltimore, across the United States and points around the globe. They have supported every corner of the institution from the humanities to the hospital, the Peabody Institute to the Center for Talented Youth. Their philanthropy represents all types of giving, from support for students, faculty, programs and research to funding capital projects and deans' and directors' priorities.

The monument also pays tribute to those who have given anonymously. A plaque on the right side of the wall notes that some of the institutions' most generous donors are not listed by name for this reason. In addition, the wall has a number of blank panels, providing for the next chapter in Johns Hopkins philanthropy.

According to Daniels, the monument recognizes that philanthropy has been the "bedrock" of the Johns Hopkins Institutions since their inception in 1876. Johns Hopkins' own commitment changed the face of higher education and medical care in America, and, in the years since, a succession of donors have carried on his vision through their own acts of generosity and leadership.

"When people look at the wall, they will see a permanent symbol of our deep gratitude for the generosity and support that sustain and, indeed, propel this world-class institution to ever greater heights," Daniels said.

The wall will remain covered until Saturday, May 2, when it will be officially dedicated at an event celebrating the impact of philanthropy at Johns Hopkins.


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