Johns Hopkins Magazine -- September 1999
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S E P T E M B E R    1 9 9 9

Alumni News
Editor: Billie Walker

Names Sought for Vietnam, Korea Memorial
Professorship Honors Renowned Teacher of Humanities
Reunions from Baltimore to Bologna
Alumni Association Presents Excellence in Teaching Awards
On the Hill
Upcoming Alumni Events
The Hopkins Fund: Homewood's Future
Nominations Due December 1 for Next Alumni Awards
'Day in the Life' Program Offers Career Insights to Students
Plans Announced for 2000 Alumni Travel Program

Names Sought for Vietnam, Korea Memorial

A group of alumni are working to collect names of students and graduates from any division of the University who died in the Vietnam or Korean conflicts.

Readers with names to add or copies of printed obituaries are asked to forward them to 1967 graduate Michael Allan Haas at 204 West Queens Drive, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185-4919; (757)229-7370; or For further information, see Mr. Haas's letter to the editor in this issue.

For many, Richard Macksey embodies the humanities.
Richard Macksey, A&S '54, '57
Professorship Honors Renowned Teacher of Humanities

Humanities professor Richard Macksey, A&S '54, '57 (Ph.D.), says "a lack of focus" is his most defining characteristic. He is known to wander sometimes during a conversation, has a habit of being in the middle of several books at one time, and is certainly hard to pin down to a straight answer. One former student says that asking Macksey a question is like going to a fire hydrant for a drink of water.

Dr. Macksey's areas of interest range from classical literature and foreign films to comic novels and medical narratives--all subjects he has taught at one time or another. Yet for an individual with such "a lack of focus," as he calls it, he certainly has managed to accomplish a great many things.

Dick Macksey began his Hopkins teaching career in the fall of 1958 as an assistant professor in The Writing Seminars. Since then he has introduced a slew of innovative courses to the arts and sciences curriculum; has published fiction, poetry, translations, and a wide spectrum of academic works; edited journals; helped to found the Humanities Center; and become a much beloved and respected teacher.

Dr. Macksey was honored for his teaching ability and dedication to undergraduates in 1992, when he received the University's George E. Owen Teaching Award. Last spring, he was recognized with the Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumnus Award.

In May he was honored again, at the dedication ceremony for the Richard A. Macksey Professorship for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. The professorship in his name has been endowed by one of Dr. Macksey's former students, Boston attorney Terry Dangel, A&S '64, and his wife, Bonni Widdoes.

Mr. Dangel says he and his wife have endowed the chair in appreciation of Dr. Macksey's special abilities, in particular those as a teacher.

"I think this is a great research institution that ought to sponsor great teaching as well," Mr. Dangel says. "Whenever I read an interesting novel, I remember my time with Professor Macksey, and it enhances my enjoyment of the book. And he taught me how to organize and communicate a story, something that I use all the time as a trial lawyer. He just embodies the humanities."

Dr. Macksey, who can read and write in six languages, gives the impression that his mind is juggling a million things at once. Neil Hertz, professor of English and director of the Humanities Center, likens Dick Macksey's thought process to a chain reaction.

"The man's right, he lacks focus--one thing leads him to another and that in turn leads to a third. And, given his astonishing memory, to a fourth, a fifth and so on," Dr. Hertz says.

"This could be a real drag if, say, you rolled down the window of your car at a traffic light to ask Dick directions to some place, while cars behind you began honking 1/25th of the way through his rambling--but no doubt interesting--answer. On the other hand," he adds, "if you are doing interdisciplinary work, an ability to link one thing to another is a positive asset."

Throughout his career Professor Macksey has had a habit of filling what he perceives as holes in the curriculum. To that end, in the 1960s he played a large role in the creation of the Humanities Center, an interdisciplinary incubator that sponsors courses in literature, art, philosophy, and history.

"In its best seasons," Dr. Macksey says, "Hopkins has always been hospitable to these interdisciplinary experiments. If the initiatives prove promising, the powers can later find a more permanent home for the most deserving cases."

The Macksey house, perhaps reflecting his mind, is submerged in books. It is hard to travel more than a few feet in any direction without running into a bookshelf of some sort. His actual library is two rooms of wall-to-wall volumes ranging from the classics to recent fiction. Dr. Macksey teaches some of his courses in this library, which doubles as a projection room.

Terry Dangel remembers being overwhelmed by the level of knowledge the young Professor Macksey had.

"When I first met him, he was just 29 years old. It seemed to me he had read everything," says Mr. Dangel. "He is extraordinarily brilliant, but he never wears it on his sleeve."

Alumni, friends, and colleagues wishing to contribute to the Macksey Professorship should call the Krieger School Development Office at 410-516-8722.

Special thanks to the Johns Hopkins Gazette and writer Greg Rienzi for the article from which this was drawn.

Reunions from Baltimore to Bologna

Homewood: Homecoming King and Queen Adam Libow and Sonal Agarwal, both A&S '99, lead the reunion class parade that preceded the Homecoming lacrosse game in April.

Homecoming: Harold Potischman, A&S '79, with his wife, Ruth, and son, Joseph, march in the reunion class parade at Homewood's Homecoming in April.

Nursing: Helen Burdon Price '49 points to the statue of Christ in the doorway of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the quilt made by Geneva Stanley Link '49, right.

Homewood: Bill Banks, center, representing the Class of '29, 'passes the torch' to Lou Koerber, left, and Bob Coulbourn of the Class of '49. The Class of '29 has raised an endowment fund nearing $1 million for scholarships at Homewood. The lcass of '49 set a record goal of $2 million for its scholarship endowment and is more than three quarters of the way there.

Medicine: During the Biennial Weekend in June, members of the Class of '43 November celebrate their 55th reunion.

Nursing: Members of the Class of '64, from left, Diane Demarest Becker, Helene Botta Williams, and Jean Hadden Waldman enjoy their 35th reunion in June.

Public Health: At the Epidemiology Department reunion in June, Clyde Martin, Ph.D. '66, left, and Frank E. Lundin Jr., M.P.H. '59, Dr.P.H. '62, converse with Helen Abbey, Sc.D. '51.

Medicine: John J. Ricotta, '73, left, and Lynne G. Maxwell '73, co-chairs of their 25th reunion campaign, receive special thanks for Dean Edward Miller. The class raised over $300,000 to endow the Keith Maxwell Memorial Scholarship Fund. Eight reunion classes raised a record $4.7 million primarily for scholarships at the School.

Bologna center: New alums Jennifer Sweitzer (U.S.A.) '99, left, and Alic Lin (Taiwan) '99 enjoy Alumni Weekend in May.

Public Health: Diane Griffin, chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, poses with W. Harry Feinstone, Sc.D. '39, at a departmental reunion in April celebrating the naming of the department for Dr. Feinstone.

Professional Studies in Business and Education: 1949 graduates of McCoy College, a predecessor of SPSBE, received medallions honoring their 50-year anniversary in April. Flanking retiring dean Stanley Gabor are, from left, Lilia H. Williams, Doris F. Singer, Marian Spikloser Gordon, Anne E. Clark, Matilda Falck, and Herbert H. Silverman.

Bologna Center: Kay Siemssen Batts (U.S.A.) '62 chats with classmat Jürgen Glückert (Germany).

Paul Johnson, Peabody
Alumni Association Presents Excellence in Teaching Awards

Last spring 16 faculty members from throughout the University's divisions were honored with Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Annually since 1992, each school has received a $2,000 cash award from the Alumni Association for the recipients, chosen by the schools themselves.

This year's honorees are as follows:

Nitze School of Advanced International Studies--Ilya Prizel, associate professor, Russian area and East European studies, and John M. Harrington Jr., professorial lecturer, international economics;

Krieger School of Arts and Sciences--Victor Corces, professor and chair, biology, and Adam Falk, associate professor, physics and astronomy;

School of Professional Studies in Business and Education-- Frank Shivers, Division of Undergraduate Studies; Robert H. Kargon, Master of Liberal Arts program; Gail Coffin, Division of Business; and Rowland Savage, Division of Education;

Whiting School of Engineering--S. Rao Kosaraju, professor, computer science;

School of Medicine--L. Mario Amzel, professor, biophysics and biophysical chemistry;

School of Nursing--Rosemarie Brager, instructor, and Kathleen Becker, assistant professor;

Peabody Conservatory--Paul Johnson, faculty, double-bass coordinator;

School of Public Health--Mark Farfel, associate professor, health policy and management; Donald Burke, professor, biostatistics; and Ronald Brookmeyer, professor, biostatistics.

On the Hill...

President William R. Brody, left greets visitors to the first Washington, D.C. Alumni Chapter Capitol Hill reception last spring. More than 140 attended the event, where they met members of Maryland's Congressional delegation.

Upcoming Alumni Events


8 New York Chapter--U.S. Open
13 Host Family reception, Baltimore
15 New York Chapter--Young Alumni Happy Hour
18 Blue Jays Unlimited--JHU Athletic Hall of Fame Induction, Baltimore
18 Los Angeles Chapter--Anaheim vs. Orioles
18 Society of Engineering Alumni dinner, Williamsburg, Va.
23 Philadelphia Chapter--Networking event
24 Washington, D.C., Chapter--Young Alumni event
25 New York Chapter--Football game at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy


3 Northern California Chapter--Crab feast
7-10 Alumni Council/Leadership Weekend, Baltimore
16 Blue Jays Unlimited--Alumni lacrosse game, Baltimore
20 New York Chapter--Young Alumni social
30 Baltimore Chapter--Young Alumni event


5 Pittsburgh Chapter--Annual dinner
6 Blue Jays Unlimited--Bull roast, Baltimore
13 "Hopkins Today"--Convocation in New York City with faculty and administration speakers, including President Brody
19-20 Society of Engineering Alumni--Whiting School anniversary, Baltimore

Click on or phone 410-516-0363 or 800-JHU-JHU1 (800-548-5481) for up-to-date schedule and information.

The Hopkins Fund: Homewood's Future

The Annual Giving programs for undergraduate alumni of the Whiting School of Engineering and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences have been combined into a new entity: The Hopkins Fund. Contributions to The Hopkins Fund will support scholarships and teaching in both schools and will assist the Milton S. Eisenhower Library.

The decision to create one fund resulted from surveys of and discussions with alumni of the two schools.

Engineering Dean Ilene Busch-Vishniac said, "Because so many alumni have told us they want to provide direct assistance to students, 60 percent of The Hopkins Fund monies will support scholarships, 20 percent will support teaching, and 20 percent will support the library. This is annual support for undergraduate education at Hopkins, and gifts from alumni go directly to their school.

"We realize that Krieger and Whiting students have a common experience here at Homewood. We wanted to speak to that commonality and yet preserve individual loyalties to each school," she explained.

Krieger School Dean Herbert Kessler agreed, adding, "The Hopkins Fund will improve the student experience directly and efficiently by reducing the need of many students to take loans or jobs, by supporting good teaching and state-of-the-art instructional technology, and by building library resources."

Following nearly a year of research and restructuring, The Hopkins Fund was officially launched in August with a letter from both deans. In addition, a volunteer class agent and reunion program is being reorganized to bolster The Hopkins Fund effort.

Questions and suggestions regarding The Hopkins Fund should be addressed to Fritz Schroeder, director of the Office of Annual Giving, at 410-516-3400, 1-800-JHU-JHAA, or

Nominations Due December 1 For Next Alumni Awards

The Alumni Association now has two presentation periods and two nomination periods for alumni awards. The next deadline for nominations is December 1. The deadline for the following period is July 1.

The Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Government Service honors alumni who have brought credit to the University by current or recent distinguished service as elected or appointed officials.

The Heritage Award honors alumni and friends who have contributed outstanding service over an extended time to the progress of the University and the Alumni Association.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award honors alumni who have typified the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence by their personal accomplishments, professional achievements, or humanitarian service.

To nominate someone for any of these awards, please send a summary of specific reasons why the nominee deserves the award. (Please limit the length of the summary to one or two pages and do not send CVs.)

Send the nomination--along with your own name, address, affiliation, and phone number--to JHU Alumni Awards Nominations, 3211 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218; fax: 410-516-6858; or e-mail:

Alumnus Benjamin Harris, left, and student Reyhan Reid: bridging the informational gap
'Day in the Life' Program Offers Career Insights to Students

It was a match made at Hopkins. Assistant State's Attorney Benjamin Harris, A&S '92, and Reyhan Reid, A&S '01, were one of 15 alumnus/student pairs who participated in Hopkins' first "Day in the Life" program, presented early this year by Homewood's Career Planning and Development Office and the Young Alumni Fund.

Day in the Life provides Hopkins students with a unique opportunity to explore careers by shadowing alumni for a day. Open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, the program is aimed not at job searching or networking but rather at bridging the information gap that often exists between classroom learning and on-the-job realities.

For Mr. Reid, a psychology major interested in criminal justice, the experience was quite valuable. "I felt I was able to ask Ben anything, and I really enjoyed hearing his perspectives on the juvenile cases," he recalls. "I sat in on some court cases--they were very interesting--and Ben introduced me to a lot of his co-workers."

Although Mr. Reid has no plans to become a lawyer, after his meeting with Benjamin Harris and a subsequent internship in the Public Defender's Office he is considering a career "in the system" as perhaps a social worker or parole officer.

Also because of Mr. Harris, Mr. Reid is now enjoying ultimate frisbee, a sport he hadn't played until the alum invited him to join in a weekend game with several other Hopkins grads and friends.

Ben Harris is one of over 1,000 alumni registered with the Alumni Association's Alumni Career Network, an online database of Hopkins graduates who are willing to speak by phone or in person to students about the professions they have chosen, the cities where they live, or what life after Hopkins is like. This service is offered free to students and alumni of any of the University's eight divisions.

The Alumni Career Network was launched five years ago, and its Internet availability two years ago. The website is currently accessed about 400 times each month, and interest from students and alumni is steadily growing.

"Students can get career information from books, but people are really the best source," says Alysia Decker, assistant director of Career Planning and Development. "Talking with a Hopkins alum who shares your interests provides a certain level of comfort, I think. And, for alumni, mentoring through the Alumni Career Network or Day in the Life offers an ideal way to give something back to the University."

Mr. Harris agrees. "Career Planning and Development is light years beyond where it was when I was a student at Hopkins," he adds, saying that he plans to stay involved with Hopkins students through the Alumni Career Network and the Day in the Life program. His advice to other alums? "If you have the time, it would be a mistake not to do this. It's fun to take that role as teacher and mentor and to see your work fresh through someone else's eyes."

To join the Alumni Career Network as a mentor, visit the Alumni Association website at or see page 78 of the Magazine for a registration form. To participate in the next Day in the Life, planned for January 2000, contact Alysia Decker at Career Planning and Development, 410-516-8056.

Plans Announced for 2000 Alumni Travel Program

The Alumni Travel Program abounds with adventure, learning, fun, and good fellowship, as photos from this year's trips to Italy and Greece attest. Promising more excitement than ever is the schedule for 2000.

Yachtsman's Caribbean
Jan. 9-16

Vienna Escapade
Jan. 29-Feb. 5

Lower Caribbean and Orinoco
Mar. 5-20

Village Life in Fiuggi, Italy
April 8-16

Rhine and Moselle Cruise
May 2-14

Village Life in Dordogne, France
May 27-June 4

Alumni College in Sorrento, Italy
June 5-13

Alumni College in Provence, France
June 13-21

June 17-July 4

Alaska Family Program
July 14-23

Exploring Siam, Java, Bali, and Spice Islands
July 23-Aug. 9

Alumni College in Kinsale, Ireland
July 30-Aug. 7

'Round the World by Private Luxury Jet (Hawaii, Sidney, Bali, Bangkok, Delhi, Kenya, Istanbul, London)
Sept. 16-Oct. 8

Great Pacific Northwest
Sept. 25-Oct. 3

Egypt and Jordan by Private Plane
Oct. 3-17

Alumni College in Portugal

For more information on any of the following, write to Alumni Travel Program, 3211 N. Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21218; call 1-800-548-5481 or 410-516-0363; fax 410-516-6858; e-mail; or visit