Johns Hopkins University (commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins) is an American private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins.
His $7 million bequest (~$150 million in 2017 dollars)—of which half financed the establishment of Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States at that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution’s first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany’s ancient Heidelberg University, Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States.
Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 divisions on campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.C. with international centers in Italy, China, and Singapore. The two undergraduate divisions, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, are located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore’s Charles Village neighborhood.
On his death in 1873, Johns Hopkins, a Quaker entrepreneur and childless bachelor, bequeathed $7 million (approximately $140,000,000 today adjusted for consumer price inflation) to fund a hospital and university in Baltimore, Maryland. At that time this fortune, generated primarily from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States
The first name of philanthropist Johns Hopkins is the surname of his great-grandmother, Margaret Johns, who married Gerard Hopkins. They named their son Johns Hopkins, who named his own son Samuel Hopkins. Samuel named one of his sons for his father and that son would become the university’s benefactor. Milton Eisenhower, a former university president, once spoke at a convention in Pittsburgh where the Master of Ceremoniesintroduced him as “President of John Hopkins.” Eisenhower retorted that he was “glad to be here in Pittburgh.”
The original board opted for an entirely novel university model dedicated to the discovery of knowledge at an advanced level, extending that of contemporary Germany. Building on the German education model of Wilhelm von Humboldt, it became dedicated to research. Johns Hopkins thereby became the model of the modern research university in the United States. Its success eventually shifted higher education in the United States from a focus on teaching revealed and/or applied knowledge to the scientific discovery of new knowledge.
The Johns Hopkins entity is structured as two corporations, the university and The Johns Hopkins Health System, formed in 1986. The President is JHU’s chief executive officer, and the university is organized into nine academic divisions.
JHU’s bylaws specify a Board of Trustees of between 18 and 65 voting members. Trustees serve six-year terms subject to a two-term limit. The alumni select 12 trustees. Four recent alumni serve 4-year terms, one per year, typically from the graduating class. The bylaws prohibit students, faculty or administrative staff from serving on the Board, except the President as an ex-officio trustee. The Johns Hopkins Health System has a separate Board of Trustees, many of whom are doctors or health care executives.
The full-time, four-year undergraduate program is “most selective” with low transfer-in and a high graduate co-existence. The cost of attendance per year is $60,820; however, the average need met is 99%. The university is one of fourteen founding members of the Association of American Universities (AAU); it is also a member of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) and the Universities Research Association (URA).
In 2016, 95% of admitted students graduated in the top tenth of their high school class and the inter-quartile range on the SAT composite score was 1440–1560. In 2013, 96.8% of freshmen returned after the first year and 88% of students graduated in 4 years. The average GPA of enrolled freshmen in the class of 2018 is 3.88.
Johns Hopkins offers a number of degrees including BA and BS for undergraduate student and MA, MS and Ph.D. Because Hopkins offers both undergraduate and graduate areas of study, many disciplines have multiple degrees available. Biomedical engineering, perhaps one of Hopkins’ best-known programs, offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, Graduate and Ph.D degrees.
Charles Village, the region of North Baltimore surrounding the university, has undergone several restoration projects, and the university has gradually bought the property around the school for additional student housing and dormitories. The Charles Village Project, completed in 2008, brought new commercial spaces to the neighborhood. The project included Charles Commons, a new, modern residence hall that includes popular retail franchises.
Hopkins invested in improving campus life with an arts complex in 2001, the Mattin Center, and a three-story sports facility, the O’Connor Recreation Center. The large on-campus dining facilities at Homewood were renovated in the summer of 2006.
Quality of life is enriched by the proximity of neighboring academic institutions, including Loyola College, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), UMBC, Goucher College, and Towson University, as well as the nearby neighborhoods of Hampden, the Inner Harbor, Fells Point, and Mount Vernon.
While it has been speculated that Johns Hopkins has relatively few traditions for a school of its age and that many past traditions have been forgotten, a handful of myths and customs are ubiquitous knowledge among the community.
One such long-standing myth surrounds the university seal that is embedded into the floor of the Gilman Hall foyer. The myth holds that any current student to step on the seal will never graduate. In reverence for this tradition, the seal has been fenced off from the rest of the room.
An annual event is the Lighting of the Quad, a ceremony each winter during which the campus is lit up in holiday lights. Recent years have included singing and fireworks.
Living on campus is typically required for first- and second-year undergraduates. Freshman housing is centered around Freshman Quad, which consists of three residence hall complexes: The two Alumni Memorial Residences (AMR I and AMR II) plus Buildings A and B. The AMR dormitories are each divided into houses, subunits named for figures from the university’s early history. Freshmen are also housed in Wolman Hall and in certain wings of McCoy Hall, both located slightly outside the campus.
Students determine where they will live during Sophomore year through a housing lottery. Most juniors and seniors move into nearby apartments or row-houses. Non-freshmen in university housing occupy one of four buildings: McCoy Hall, the Bradford Apartments, the Homewood Apartments, and Charles Commons. All are located in Charles Village within a block from the Homewood campus. Forty-five percent of the student body lives off-campus while 55% lives on campus.