In the closing moments of the past four United Way
campaigns, there have been mass sightings of a costumed
crusader at Johns Hopkins. Perhaps you've seen her. She
comes decked out in a Wicked Witch of the West hat and
mask, a Jack-O-Lantern plastic bucket in her hand. Either
by herself or with her trusty sidekicks, this masked woman
goes office to office in search of the last few dollars
necessary to put the university's campaign over the top.
Displaying her distinctive brand of humor, our hero
holds out her bucket and asks in a congenial southern
accent, "Give to the United Way, or I'll put a spell on
Who is she? Why, it's Judy, the Good Witch of JHU
employees, of course. Sadly for the university, however,
this Judy is now clicking her heels and heading for
Judy Peregoff, the founding director of
Staff and Retiree Programs, will officially step down
from her Human Resources post on Tuesday, joining the ranks
of the retired population she has championed for nearly a
In fact, this country girl from Dillwin, Va., has made
quite an indelible mark at the institution she has called
home for 21 years. Her long list of accomplishments
includes the establishment of retiree programs and the
notable expansion and enhancement of the university's blood
drive, United Way campaign and staff recognition program.
According to colleagues, Peregoff has an uncanny ability to
take something good and make it great.
Her results speak for themselves.
Since she became the administrator of the university's
fund-raising effort in 1991, the campaign has nearly
tripled, topping the $1 million mark for the first time in
2001. Johns Hopkins is now the single largest contributor
to the United Way of Central Maryland campaign.
Hopkins American Red Cross blood drive, Peregoff became
its chair in 1998 and quickly set out to develop ways to
increase its success. Today, the university annually
collects some 1,600 units of blood and is the top college
and university contributor in the region.
She has also established the Adopt-a-Family Program,
Discovering Careers at JHU, Hopkins Night at Camden Yards,
the Vernon Rice Memorial Butterball Turkey Program and the
Professional Clothing Drive, among others.
When asked to describe her, friends and colleagues use
such words as "tireless," "passionate," "inspiring" and
"zealous to an extraordinary degree."
Edgar Roulhac, who worked closely with Peregoff during
his days as interim vice president for human resources,
said Peregoff's enthusiasm for both her work and life knows
Peregoff at the recent JHU Day of
Caring at St. Jerome's Head Start Program.
PHOTO BY HPS / JAY
"Judy is a controlled and continuously effective burst
of energy and good will, who, in the words of the great
jazz musician and singer Nat King Cole, will always be
unforgettable," said Roulhac, vice provost for academic
services. "She will certainly be sorely missed."
Peregoff joined the university in 1982, taking the
position of a receptionist for the Office of Facilities
Management. Prior to coming to Hopkins, she was a regional
sales manager for Sarah Coventry Jewelry, where she won an
award for being the top manager in the nation.
In 1987, Peregoff joined what was then the Office of
Personnel Programs. For the next five years she served as
administrative assistant to the office's vice president. In
1992, Peregoff became the inaugural manager and later the
director of Faculty, Staff and Retiree Programs, an office
created by then vice president for human resources Jimmy
From a staff of one and a limited budget, Peregoff has
nearly singlehandedly built up the office to what it is and
For retirees, Peregoff was instrumental in organizing
a program that includes social events, library privileges,
access to Homewood's recreation center, volunteer
opportunities and a host of other benefits. For staff and
faculty, she has been a staunch crusader, her office
responsible for the creation of an assortment of annual
events and volunteer opportunities intended to promote
community and workplace pride.
Pat Kramer, director of the Office
of Design and Publications, who has known Peregoff for
21 years, said Peregoff has been nothing short of the
employees' standard bearer.
"Judy has fought for staff, faculty and retirees here
from the moment she became director, and has changed so
much in that time," Kramer said. "She would always go the
extra step necessary, whether it be dressing up as a witch
for the United Way campaign or using her own personal
resources to put a finishing touch on an event. She did her
best to make life for all of us better. Her goal has always
been excellence, asking what is the best we can get for
those who work here?"
Diane Lawrence, who joined Human
Resources at the same time as Peregoff, said her friend
has an innate ability to motivate and is someone who is
"very hard to say no to."
"Her enthusiasm for volunteering became contagious,
and I'm sure in retirement she will continue to volunteer
and engage people about giving back to the community," said
Lawrence, who retired from the university in 2000. "She
would never ask her staff, or anyone for that matter, to do
something she wouldn't do, and she did everything with both
grace and conviction."
Peregoff's list of accomplishments haven't gone
unnoticed. In 1999, she received the Clementine Peterson
Award for outstanding community service, the United Way of
Central Maryland's most prestigious award. In 2000, The
Daily Record placed Peregoff on the list of Maryland's
Top 100 Women for that year. Her other honors include the
American Red Cross World Series Award for outstanding
leadership and support, and the Hometown Heroes Award for
increasing the blood drives at the Johns Hopkins campuses.
In addition, she has received the Maryland Volunteer
Network Volunteer and Community Service Advance Award.
Peregoff said she lives by the motto "If you are going
to do something, do it right, and do it with a smile on
When asked what she is most proud of, Peregoff said
it's a toss-up between the introduction of retiree programs
and the success of the volunteer programs.
"I felt it was terribly important to keep folks
connected to Johns Hopkins, and recognize all that they've
done for the university. I also felt it was important to
provide vehicles for university employees to give back to
the community," she said. "There are many unsung heroes
here, and they deserve attention."
Talking about retirement, Peregoff said she has mixed
feelings. She said she's sad to leave but secure in knowing
that hers was a job well done. She is also happy to spend
more time with her husband, Samuel, and their four children
and two grandchildren.
"I know I put my heart and soul into this university,"
she said. "I can't believe I'm leaving, but I know the good
things my staff and I started here will continue."
Peregoff's spirit of volunteerism will continue
She is currently in training to respond to disaster
relief at the American Red Cross. After her training is
complete, Peregoff will become part of a team who will
respond to emergencies anywhere in the world for up to one
month at a time. Starting this fall, she also will work
part time in an advisory role at the United Way of Central
At Peregoff's farewell reception on Sept. 23 at
Evergreen House, where her office is located, Larry Walton,
director of the United Way of Central Maryland, said that
to many of his staff, Peregoff is known simply as "Ms.
"We truly love this woman," he said. "She has been an
extraordinary champion of our campaign year after year. I
know she will be a wonderful influence on all our