1997 Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism Ceremony

Opening Remarks by
William R. Brody, President JHU
The Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award Ceremony

Johns Hopkins University
Shriver Hall, 8 p.m.
October 9, 1997

President Bush, Mr. State Minister Schmidbauer, Dr. Toepfer, Mr. Schlunk and distinguished members of the Schweitzer Prize Board of Trustees, and all our honored guests: I am very pleased to welcome you all on behalf of The Johns Hopkins University to this historic event.

This evening we will award the 1997 Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Humanitarianism to President George Bush. We are especially pleased to welcome President Bush back to Johns Hopkins. We think of him as a friend of these institutions.

In February of 1990, President Bush received an honorary degree from Johns Hopkins when he spoke at our commemoration day exercises. Six years later, he returned to speak as the special invited guest of the graduating class at the 1996 commencement ceremony. President Bush serves as honorary chair of the Hopkins Nanjing Council, and has been extremely supportive of our center in Nanjing since its inception, when he was vice president.

We are pleased to welcome him back to the Homewood campus again today. And we will be pleased, President Bush, to welcome you again, any time in the future you should want to visit.

Many of our audience today know of the special relationship that exists between The Johns Hopkins University and Germany. We were founded in 1876 as the first American research university, dedicated to advanced research and the awarding of the doctorate. These were two concepts originated in the German research universities of the time that were imported to the rest of America through Baltimore and this university.

Our first president, Daniel Coit Gilman, had studied at the University of Berlin, and wanted to create in the United States a university-level institution that would serve the needs of post-graduate scholars. His plan quickly proved successful. In 1884, a young student earning his doctorate in history here wrote to a friend saying the 8-year-old Johns Hopkins University was "the best place in America to study."

That's always something a college president likes to hear, especially when it comes from the future 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson. Wilson, I might add, is the only U.S. president to hold a doctorate, and we are particularly proud it came from Johns Hopkins.

The German model of research and scholarship found fruitful soil here in Baltimore, and has since spread across the nation and around the world. This university's ties to Germany have been many and varied ever since.

For instance, at our Bologna Center in Italy, more of our students come from Germany than any other European country. We are especially proud of the cutting-edge research and scholarship being performed at our American Institute for Contemporary German Studies in Washington. And, with consideration of our special guest this evening, one tidbit I cannot help but mention is the fact that the Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington recently became home to a section of the Berlin Wall, which we consider to be a monument to that school's and our countries' far-sighted approach to foreign policy.

So it is particularly appropriate that The Johns Hopkins University should present the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism. This is, after all, a prize named in honor of a German, donated by a German, and awarded on behalf of a foundation named for a German.

The Schweitzer Prize, named for one of the greatest humanitarians of this or any other century, expresses well the inspiration and vision that guided Dr. Toepfer and his family in the work of the von Humboldt Foundation.

Follow this link to the address by President George Bush.

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