About Johns Hopkins
spacer for safari
From the home page

There is only one Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins, the namesake and benefactor
of the university and hospital, bequeathed $7 million
to establish the world-class institutions.

The Johns Hopkins University was born of a great fortune, endowed, from the beginning with a largess equal to those of the world's greatest universities. A beneficiary of the railroad boom, Johns Hopkins' bequest was truly exceptional, predating similar bequests made by Andrew Carnegie and other barons of the era by more than a decade.

1876, the year of the university's founding, was in no way an ordinary year. As the nation struggled to recover from the Civil War, corruption and cronyism ruled big city politics from New York to Chicago. Westward expansion continued to build great rail and telegraph fortunes, while Reconstruction sought to bring the South and North together. Our nation and our world cried out for solutions to a multitude of problems.

Daniel Coit Gilman, the first president of Johns Hopkins University, understood the gravity of his charge: the stewardship of an institution destined to rise to the first order by virtue of the most munificent financial bequest in the history of post-Renaissance higher education. And because Hopkins' bequest, and his original selection of trustees, left the University untethered to the bonds of either church or state, Gilman had the power to shape the institution as an advancement in higher education itself, in a time of tremendous national challenge.

Gilman was committed to the idea of a university connected to, and inclusive of: undergraduate colleges, technical schools, conservatories, medical facilities, and research centers, leveraging each to build a singularly more comprehensive, more literate, more conscientious university with a clear, underlying purpose to "prepare for the service of society a class of students who will be wise, thoughtful, progressive guides in whatever department of work or thought they may be engaged." Indeed, President Gilman saw the university a center for human advancement.

The object of the university is to develop character... It misses its aim if it produced learned pedants, or simple artisans, or cunning sophists, or pretentious practitioners. Its purport is not so much to impart knowledge to the pupils, as whet the appetite, exhibit methods, develop powers, strengthen judgment, and invigorate the intellectual and moral forces.

... Our simple aim is to make scholars, strong, bright, useful and true.

- Daniel Coit Gilman's Inaugural Address, February 22, 1876

Ultimately, Gilman sought to build the country's first comprehensive research university, as inclusive to the arts and humanities as it might be to medicine and the sciences, and completely dedicated to "the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell."

Explore Further: