Johns Hopkins Magazine -- February 1997
Johns Hopkins Magazine



E D I T O R' S    N O T E

Farewell to a Standard Setter

For those of you who've been reading Johns Hopkins Magazine for any length of time, the name Elise Hancock is sure to be familiar. Elise was the much-esteemed editor of the magazine from 1973 until the spring of 1994 (with a brief hiatus in the late '80s), when she stepped down to become senior editor. "I still get to play in the sandbox--writing, editing, playing with ideas," she wrote at the time. "The only thing missing is the responsibility." Since then you've seen her byline on a variety of well-written, solidly researched pieces (remember "Autopsy: The Boy Who Died Too Fast" in February 1995? It won a CASE gold medal), and we've all benefited from her insightful suggestions and her vast storehouse of knowledge about things Hopkins.

Now Elise has decided to leave the magazine for good; she retired from Hopkins in December, after nearly 25 years with the university. The ensuing months will undoubtedly find Elise pursuing the springtime activities she loves best--toiling happily in her flower garden, rooting for her adopted "home team" down at Camden Yards. She also wants to try her hand at a different kind of writing, personal essays, which she's long been itching to do.

Among alumni magazine editors throughout the country, Elise is something of a legend. Under her editorial leadership Johns Hopkins Magazine twice won Newsweek's coveted Sibley Award (in 1980 and 1988), given annually to the nation's top alumni magazine. And her writers have consistently hauled in kudos from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)--as I was reminded during a recent office move when I unearthed several boxes filled with framed awards and certificates of excellence.

Elise also had a wonderful rapport with Hopkins readers. She produced a magazine that was like a letter home to a trusted friend, with both good news and bad, a healthy leavening of humor, and the occasional surprise. (Who can forget the October 1986 issue that included a flexible "record" to accompany an article about minimalist music?) And long before "interactive" became the buzzword with the electronic set, she was working hard to engage Hopkins alumni in their magazine, with reader's contests for everything from writing fables to coming up with Rube Goldberg-type devices.

Thanks for setting the standard, Elise. We'll certainly miss you.

The next time you're surfing the Web, be sure to check out the online version of the magazine at We're working hard to give you some "extras" that you won't find in the print version. To view additional works by Raoul Middleman '55, for instance, just click into our electronic art gallery. We also link you to a host of related sites with each of our stories, and offer you the chance to interact with our writers and photographers. I'm excited about the "'zine's" potential. In addition to enriching the experience of current readers, it's an affordable way to spread the word about Hopkins to people we'd ordinarily never be able to reach.