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Johns Hopkins UniversityArts and Sciences Magazine


The Campaign: More than Fundraising

Michael Burlingame

Adam Falk

As you've read in this and other publications, including perhaps my most recent e-newsletter, the School of Arts and Sciences recently closed its extraordinarily successful Knowledge for the World fundraising campaign, part of the broader university campaign that brought in an incredible $3.74 billion. Arts and Sciences' campaign total, $334 million, secured significant support for several critical priorities—undergraduate scholarships and financial aid, graduate fellowships, faculty and program support, the Gilman Hall renovation, and Charles Commons among them. And much of the money we raised in the campaign is now playing a vital role in helping us withstand the current economic crisis and keep budget cuts and other painful measures to a minimum.

But that isn't the whole campaign story. A campaign, especially one that lasts nearly a decade, is a shared experience that unites us around common goals, and in so doing strengthens our community, deepening existing relationships and forging new ones, celebrating our history as we work together to create a shared vision for the future. I am profoundly grateful for my own opportunity to take part in this journey, and gratified to have witnessed how our community grew stronger as the campaign went on.

A marvelous illustration of this was the development of the Center for Financial Economics, which launched last fall and is already seeing tremendous student interest. This program sprang from the visionary minds and dedicated hearts of our economics faculty and a core group of alumni, many of whom work in finance. In sharing their academic and business perspectives, together they saw firsthand the need for such a center at Hopkins, to prepare current and future generations of students for careers in the global economy. These alumni are so grateful for the education they received--and remember so fondly their experiences with economics professors Lou Maccini and Carl Christ--that they resolved to remain connected to Johns Hopkins. They offered not only their financial support but, equally important, their professional guidance, expert advice, and unflagging enthusiasm. This group of mostly New York-based alumni worked together and with the department, deepening their connections with one another and with the university. Today, they continue to play a very active role in the center, as members of its newly constituted advisory board.

In a similar way, the renovation of Gilman Hall has been truly a crucible for alumni memories, both of the building and of their time at Hopkins. As alumni meet and remember Gilman, the stories of many different decades have been amalgamated in the retelling into a phenomenally rich collective memory. Not only has it been heartwarming to hear from alumni about their connections to Gilman Hall, but my own sense of Hopkins history has been deepened immeasurably. Stories alumni shared with me directly or via the renovation website ( recall the ways in which people's lives have been intertwined with this building, and their memories—of late-night discussions in the Hut with Richard Macksey, of climbing the worn, marble steps to a fourth-floor class, of surviving their first seminar presentation—conjure a love of learning that, once ignited at Hopkins, never fades. The campaign to raise the money for the renovation of this grand building, while (I will confess) initially a daunting and intimidating task, has become for me a true labor of love.

And finally, a thought about financial aid. At some point several years ago, the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering began holding an annual scholarship luncheon to honor the donors who have created undergraduate scholarships, so that they might spend some time with the students they have so generously helped. Each year we gather in the Glass Pavilion and listen to student and donor speakers, and each year, without exception, I am moved by donors' inspirations for giving, as well as by the way their gifts, in turn, inspire students. Our students understand full well the significance of a named scholarship, and through the scholarship luncheon they connect directly with an earlier generation of students and see themselves as part of an important legacy, an ongoing Hopkins story. Many of them tell me that they hope to create scholarships themselves someday, to "pay it forward," as it were. And I am sure that many of the alumni see in their scholars their own younger selves, once again students at a Johns Hopkins that is today so different and yet so essentially the same.

In the end, as critical as is the financial support generated by the Knowledge for the World campaign, equally important to Johns Hopkins is the deepening of the connections of our alumni and our friends to the work we do here. I have taken great pleasure in coming to know so many alumni and seeing Johns Hopkins through their eyes, enriching in profound and unexpected ways my own appreciation for this unique and wonderful institution.


Adam F. Falk
James B. Knapp Dean