Rising to the Challenge Campaign Launch

Remarks by President Ronald J. Daniels
Rising to the Challenge Campaign Launch
Decker Quadrangle

Thank you, Pam.

Tonight, with awe and reverence for all that our young university has accomplished over the last 137 years, we launch our Rising to the Challenge Campaign.

A campaign that declares that this is our moment to interpret the noble legacy we have inherited.

A campaign that carries aloft our most cherished hopes and dreams.

A campaign that is deeply anchored in the daily rhythms of our enterprise – the ideas that are fostered, the students who are inspired, the patients who are healed, and the condition of humankind that is advanced.

But, a campaign, like those that have preceded this one, that is extraordinary and unique.

Campaign. How can it be all of these things?

Rooted in history but framed for tomorrow.

Our time, but Gilman’s, Osler’s, Gildersleeve’s and Eisenhower’s as well.

Continuous yet episodic.

We, of course, must acknowledge that there is a finiteness to our current campaign.

To be successful, we have goals that must be achieved by June 30, 2017.

There are faculty chairs to be created. Scholarships to be endowed. Buildings to be built. Programs to be supported.

And these investments will change our character – making us better, more vibrant, and more accessible.

But, the campaign is eternal in the way in which it harkens back to the extraordinary generosity of Johns Hopkins himself, and to the men and women of Baltimore who elevated his cause.

At the beginning, remember, the trustees and donors who stood behind this fledgling idea of an institution were not grateful patients, accomplished alumni or proud parents.

They had received no benefit from a place called Hopkins.

Rather these were people who simply believed in the idea of what Hopkins could be.

An idea that was inextricably bound to humanity’s enlightenment, to the belief that progress could only be achieved through the curation of knowledge, through the embrace of reason.

And what a brave and glorious idea that was.

In his installation, Hopkins’ first president, Daniel Coit Gilman, described the pursuit of knowledge as “a reaching out for a better state of society…,” “a craving for intellectual and moral growth…,” “a wish for less misery among the poor, less ignorance in schools, … less suffering in the hospital.”

This is the idea we honor each time we gather in tents like this one.

This is our eternal campaign, the idea that will galvanize those who follow after us – 20, 50 or 100 years from now.

And so, although we will one day in the not too distant future meet to mark the conclusion of our Rising to the Challenge campaign, our broader campaign for the idea of Hopkins is everlasting.

We gather here today to reaffirm our belief in the promise of this idea, and the campaign to drive it forward.

And so, we go forth with no sense of expectation or entitlement … but with profound humility and hopefulness for all that stands before us.

Thank you.

Before we continue, I must emphasize that the lofty aspirations expressed in Rising to the Challenge emerged from broad conversations across this institution over the last several years, fueled by the vision of our Deans, Directors and academic leaders. Their leadership can be found in every corner of this campaign, and I’d like to ask them to stand and be recognized. Please hold your applause until the end.

Jonathan Bagger, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and the university’s interim provost
And I’m pleased Robert Lieberman could be here tonight. On July 1st, Rob will join us as the university’s 14th provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs
Also with us, is David Andrews, Dean of the School of Education
Ruth Faden, director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics
Bernie Ferrari, Dean of the Carey Business School
Elaine Tuttle Hansen, Executive Director of the Center for Talented Youth
Martha Hill, Dean of the School of Nursing
Nick Jones, the Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering
Mike Klag, Dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health
Vali Nasr, Dean of the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and
Katherine Newman, the Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Ron Peterson, President of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System
Paul Rothman, the Baker Dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine
Jeff Sharkey, Director of the Peabody Institute, and
Winston Tabb, the Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums
Finally, Ralph Semmel, Director of the Applied Physics Laboratory, was unable to be with us tonight.
Please join me in recognizing this exceptional team of deans and academic leaders.

I’d also like to offer thanks and gratitude to my co-hosts for tonight’s event. Pam Flaherty has served with able and visionary leadership as the chair of the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees for nearly six years.

Her incomparable enthusiasm for this university and her ability to see both the pieces and the whole of this institution have made her a remarkable partner.

I’d also like to thank Jeff Aronson. As chair of this campaign, he has helped to lead us on an extraordinary journey of ambition and discovery.

In two months, Jeff will succeed Pam as chair of our university Board of Trustees, adding yet another title to his Hopkins credentials.

Alumnus, trustee, campaign chair, board chair … and perhaps most important of all – parent to two current students. I can think of no better affirmation of his faith in Johns Hopkins. And now: Jeff?