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An End to the Local Drought

There was a time, not so many decades ago, when the top students coming out of Baltimore City's public schools looked no farther than their own backyard for college. In his memoir, A Boy No More, the late Paxton Davis, A&S '49, wrote about arriving at Homewood in September to register and settle in. "Hopkins' urban setting ensured an abundance of rental rooms, apartments, and basements on every side," he wrote, "and in any case, approximately half the sixteen hundred undergraduates were Baltimoreans . . . and lived at home."

The situation changed dramatically throughout the latter part of the 20th century, until, by 2003, the number of Baltimore City public school students coming to Johns Hopkins each September averaged a paltry four.

Now there's real hope that the local "drought" has ended, thanks to the university's new Baltimore Scholars Program. The strategy — a bold one that garnered national headlines when it was announced last summer — is elegant in its simplicity: Offer four years of full tuition to any Baltimore City public school student who is accepted to Hopkins' schools of Arts & Sciences or Engineering.

University officials have been bowled over by the response. This year, some 130 Baltimore public school students applied to Johns Hopkins — triple the usual number. Of those, 30 were invited to join the Class of 2009 and 22 accepted. (You can read about one member of the bumper crop, Intel Science Talent Search finalist Ryan Harrison, on page 40.) Undergraduate admissions director John Latting says he is tickled pink to see the influx of local talent — and he intends to build on it as the program gains momentum. "We really knew there were talented students in the Baltimore City schools," Latting told us. "Now the great thing is, we're getting our fair share of them."

Other good news, this time from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE): Johns Hopkins Magazine has once again garnered a gold medal in staff writing in CASE's annual awards competition, as well as a gold medal in the best articles category for Dale Keiger's "The Rivalry." That piece appeared in last June's special sports issue and chronicled the days leading up to the historic 100th men's lacrosse face-off between Hopkins and the University of Maryland. Hats off to Dale, senior writer Maria Blackburn, and associate editor Catherine Pierre for keeping Johns Hopkins Magazine among the nation's best!

-Sue De Pasquale

Return to June 2005 Table of Contents

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