In the face of superstition, The Johns Hopkins University held its first commencement ceremony on the 13th of June 1878. It was by preference a humble and private affair held at Hopkins Hall, the university's first home, located in downtown Baltimore at the corner of Howard and Centre streets.
The graduating class was a modest group of four, who included Josiah Royce, who went on to become a William James disciple and renowned Idealist philosopher.
To notify all "officers and students" of the ceremony, President Daniel Coit Gilman the day before sent out a succinct, handwritten memo, stating, "The degree of Doctor of Philosophy will be conferred on those candidates who have passed all their examinations."
He added, "The ceremony will be very brief."
As the university approaches its 125th anniversary, it is once again time to honor those ending their academic journey. Unlike 1878's version, however, this commencement will not be nearly as discreet and "brief" an affair.
The university-wide ceremony, to be held at Homewood at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, will feature the conferring of more than 5,000 degrees; recognize the new members of the Society of Scholars, who will be inducted on May 24; and bestow honorary degrees upon Kofi Annan, Richard Bing, Robert Glaser, Benjamin H. Griswold III, Bernadine Healy, Victor McKusick, Harvey Meyerhoff and Steven Muller.
In addition, each of the university's eight academic divisions will hold a diploma award ceremony featuring a keynote speaker selected by representatives of the school. Ceremonies also will include the announcement of awards that recognize the contributions and achievements of students and faculty.
The tradition of commencement speakers at Hopkins that began in 1888, when President Gilman and classics professor Basil Gildersleeve tendered their words of wisdom, will continue with current president William R. Brody speaking at the university-wide ceremony.
George Tenet, director of Central Intelligence, will speak at the undergraduate ceremony for the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering at 2 p.m. on May 25, Keyser Quadrangle, Homewood. In his position, Tenet heads the U.S. intelligence community and also directs the Central Intelligence Agency.
Tenet previously was deputy director of Central Intelligence, special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council. While at the NSC, he coordinated presidential directives on intelligence priorities, security policy coordination, U.S. counterintelligence effectiveness and all interagency activities concerning covert action. Tenet holds a bachelor's degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master's from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University.
The School of Arts and Sciences' master's diploma award ceremony, at 6:30 p.m. on May 25, Shriver Hall, will feature speaker and Hopkins alum William A. Reinsch, undersecretary for export administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Reinsch, who received his bachelor's degree in international relations from the School of Arts and Sciences and his master's from SAIS, administers and enforces the export control policies of the government and its anti-boycott laws. From 1977 to 1991, he was chief legislative assistant for the late Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.), focusing on foreign trade and competitiveness policy issues. More recently, from 1991 to 1993, he was a senior legislative assistant to Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.V.), responsible for the senator's work on trade, international economic policy, foreign affairs and defense.
The assembled graduates at the School of Engineering's master's diploma ceremony will listen to the words of George W. Reynolds, director of industry and university initiatives for the Northrup Grumman Corp. The ceremony will be at 7 p.m., May 24, Keyser Quadrangle.
Reynolds, a licensed professional engineer and commercial pilot, works in the company's electronic sensors and systems sector. He chairs several industrial advisory boards at major universities and is currently a member of the electrical and computer engineering visiting committee at the School of Engineering. In 1992, Reynolds was named National Black Engineer of the Year for Outstanding Achievements in Industry. He is a graduate of Harvard University and a Johns Hopkins fellow in change management.
The School of Professional Studies in Business and Education welcomes June Strecksus as speaker for its undergraduate and graduate diploma award ceremony at 7:30 p.m., May 25, Keyser Quadrangle, Homewood.
Strecksus is the executive director of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, a coalition of more than 100 companies committed to education reform and student achievement. She is a former teacher, Baltimore County administrative officer and aide to U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.). A Hopkins alum, Strecksus recently was named one of Maryland's Top 100 Women by The Daily Record newspaper.
The diploma ceremony speaker for the School of Medicine will be Antonia Novello, commissioner of the New York State Department of Health. The ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m., May 25, at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St.
Novello is the former surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service and was the first woman and the first Hispanic to hold the position. As surgeon general, she advised on public health matters such as smoking, AIDS, nutrition and environmental health hazards. Novello is currently a visiting professor in the School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and its special director for community health policy.
Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan will be the speaker at the School of Advanced International Studies' diploma award ceremony, which will be held at 3 p.m., May 25, at Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets, Washington, D.C. Annan, who began his term on Jan. 1, 1997, is the first secretary general to be elected from the ranks of United Nations staff.
A native of Ghana, Annan spent years abroad studying economics and management before he joined the United Nations in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva. Before being appointed secretary general, Annan served as assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations and then as undersecretary general from 1994 to 1996.
He has used his offices in several political situations, including an attempt to gain Iraq's compliance with Security Council resolutions, to help promote the transition to civilian rule in Nigeria and to resolve a stalemate between Libya and the Security Council over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
Speaking to the graduates of the School of Nursing will be the school's own Jacquelyn Campbell, associate dean for doctoral research and programs. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m., May 25, Turner Auditorium, JHMI campus.
Campbell is an internationally recognized researcher and scholar in the area of domestic violence. Her early observations of violence and its effects on health resulted in a study of homicide of women that was the first empirical study of violence other than child abuse published in a nursing journal. Campbell is the Anna D. Wolf Professor at the School of Nursing and holds a joint appointment at the School of Public Health.
Composer Philip Glass will address the Peabody graduates. He also will be presented with the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America. The ceremony will be at 8 p.m., May 25, Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall.
The Baltimore-born Glass began his music studies at the Peabody Preparatory at the age of 8. He studied composition at the Julliard School in New York and won a Fulbright grant that took him in 1964 to study with the renowned Nadia Boulanger in Paris, where he discovered Eastern music and worked with Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar. Today, Glass is the world's most successful composer of concert and operatic music, having written 16 operas--including his 1976 breakthrough Einstein on the Beach--eight symphonies, six string quartets, several ballets and many film scores.
The School of Public Health diploma award ceremony will feature speaker Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
Fauci began his career at NIH in 1968 as a clinical associate in the laboratory of clinical investigation. In 1980, he was appointed chief of the laboratory of immunoregulation, a position he still holds. He became director of NIAID in 1984.
His research has led to effective therapies for formerly fatal diseases and has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how the human immunodeficiency virus destroys the immune system and leaves the body at the mercy of deadly infections. Fauci is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters.
For more information on all ceremonies, go to the JHUniverse home page at http://www.jhu.edu and click on Commencement. Images of the university-wide and undergraduate ceremonies will be posted on this site by May 26, as will the text of President Brody's address.