Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 19, 1997

On Speakers:
Tim Johnson to Speak
at Undergraduate Ceremony

Randolph Fillmore
Contributing Writer
G. Timothy Johnson, medical editor for ABC's World News Tonight, Nightline, 20/20 and Good Morning America, will be the featured speaker at the afternoon diploma awards ceremony for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the G.W.C. Whiting School Engineering on commencement day. Johnson, a physician and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, co-edits numerous publications, including The Harvard Medical School Health Letter. He often speaks at commencement exercises, and in recent years he has been high on the list of preferred speakers.

Johnson says he accepts two commencement speaking engagements yearly, always the first two who call. This year, Class of 1997 secretary and treasurer Edward Auyung was one of the first two callers.

"We had several criteria for selecting a speaker," said Auyung. "First, we wanted someone who had experience in things other than a single pro-fession. Dr. Johnson is, of course, a journalist and editor. He worked with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop on Koop's Let's Talk book. He's a good public speaker."

Johnson would not speculate on the substance of his address.

"I never prepare commencement addresses," said Johnson, a 1969 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Albany Medical College. "I react to the mood and the moment and usually speak in a personal, anecdotal fashion."

Johnson, who also has a master's of public health from the Harvard School of Public Health, said he started his TV career in 1972 when John Knowles of Massachusetts General bought the Boston ABC affiliate WCVB-TV and invited him to participate as a medical consultant and editor. Johnson went on to ABC's national spotlight in the 1980s.

Prior to Johnson's afternoon address, President William R. Brody will address the university-wide commencement ceremony. This is a departure from the recent tradition of having an invited guest deliver the commencement address. Until World War II, it was the custom at Hopkins forthe president or a faculty member to address the graduates.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will address graduates of the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, at their ceremony in Washington.

The text of speeches by Brody and Johnson will be available on the World Wide Web at

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