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Bon Voyage, Miss Minnie!
Photo by
Bill Denison
There were just eight major buildings on the Homewood campus when Minnie Hargrow came to Johns Hopkins as a server in the cafeteria. It was October 1946 — years before the university would admit women or blacks as students. "Nothing but boys dressed in suits," she remembers. She was married with a daughter, Brenda. She made 75 cents an hour, and she took three buses from her West Baltimore home to make it to work by 6 a.m. After five years, she bought a used Chevy.

Almost 61 years and a big promotion to the President's Office later, Miss Minnie, as she's known to just about everyone who's cycled through Hopkins in that time, has retired. She has been an assistant to five presidents, making sure they and their visitors were well taken care of. "Every president has been totally different," she says. "But I've gotten along with every one."

She's also been invaluable outside of the office, working part time at a nursing home and volunteering with the senior citizens at her church. She has been a part-time travel agent and is herself a traveler — she's been on 29 cruises, has been overseas several times, and takes an annual ski trip. And she presides over a family that now includes a granddaughter, three great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter.

So for Miss Minnie, who is now 85, it looks like "retired" is a relative term. Not coming to Hopkins every day will just give her more time to do everything else. "I don't think I'll get bored," she says. "You should see my calendar."
— Catherine Pierre

Return to September 2007 Table of Contents

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