Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fact-checking Mike Bloomberg

Contrary to what Mike Bloomberg '64 may think, 
Homewood House, above, is the architectural inspiration for the Homewood campus.

The University produced a video to commemorate the renovation of Gilman Hall. It was shown at the rededication Saturday and has been posted on YouTube. In it, President Ron Daniels, Dean Kathy Newman, other faculty, students, and alumni talk about the renovated building and the importance of the humanities at Hopkins.

Mike Bloomberg '64, the Mayor of New York City, makes a special appearance at the 3 minutes 58 seconds mark. He says:
Gilman is the history of Hopkins. Its architecture set the standard for the rest of the campus and the fact that you had to go through it to get basically from one place to another really made it the focal point for the university.
Not entirely true, Mr. Mayor.

Gilman was not the architectural inspiration for the Homewood campus. Here is the real story based on research done by Hopkins Underground.

When Johns Hopkins University was first founded, it was located near Howard and West Monument Streets in Romanesque buildings. Daniel Coit Gilman expressed a desire to move the campus to a more rural location and adopt more traditional architecture.

In 1902, William Keyser (as in Keyser Quad), a University trustee, donated the 120 acre Carroll family estate which includes Homewood House. The estate is what we know today as the Homewood campus.

Two years later, President Ira Remsen, Gilman's successor, held a design competition for a new main building and campus. At least two architects submitted proposals. John Russell Pope, who designed the Baltimore Museum of Art and Jefferson Memorial decades later, proposed a classical design and campus layout. The University Trustees did not go for his.

Instead, they picked the design from Parker, Thomas, & Rice, an architecture firm with offices in Baltimore and Boston. Douglas H. Thomas a Baltimore native graduated from Hopkins with a degree in engineering.

They used Georgian Revival architecture and design, seeking to emulate the features of Homewood House which was built in 1801.  They believed Homewood House to be "the shining architectural light already occupying the ground." Today, Homewood House is known as Homewood Museum.

Gilman Hall is a reinterpretation and enlargement of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It sought to connect the University with the American Colonial period and other Universities with Georgian architecture.

So while one of Hopkins's most famous alumni and a former chairman of the board has served his alma mater well, he is incorrect in saying Gilman is the architectural basis for the campus. It is that home to the north east of Gilman.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Details of Saturday's Gilman Rededication

A source has provided some details of the Gilman Hall rededication on Saturday night.
  • Over 400 guests dined on beet salad spiced with pecans, pears, and Fourme D'Ambert; sun-dried tomato and olive-crusted sea bass on a bed of butternut squash & dried fig risotto and wilted spinach; apple Charolotte timbale and Calvados Ice Cream; brownies and rockie road squares. 
  • Dean Kathy Newman officially rededicated Gilman Hall as the faculty of the humanities departments stood.
  • Fireworks were launched off the bell tower after Newman rededicated the building.
  • As Pam Flaherty quoted Daniel Gilman, an actor playing Gilman joined Flaherty in her recitation and took to the stage. "Gilman" was holding a lamp as he made his way to the stage. 
  • Flaherty and Newman bantered with "Gilman" for a couple minutes.
  • The University gave guests a piece of marble from the old Gilman with a plaque on it commemorating the rededication. 
  • Past University officials were in attendance: Steve Knapp, former Provost and now President of the George Washington University; Adam Falk, former Dean of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and now President of Williams College; and William Brody, former President of the University and now President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Photo: @JHU_Brian
 Daniel Gilman addresses the crowd
at the rededication of his eponymous building.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rededicating Gilman

Photo: @JohnsHopkins
A tent set up on Gilman Quad for the rededication of Gilman Hall on Saturday.

We have learned some information about the rededication of Gilman Hall which will take place Saturday evening starting at 4:30 p.m.
  • Over 400 guests will attend, including members of the board of trustees, deans and vice-presidents from across the University, big donors, and all the faculty of the humanities departments. 
  • There will be dinner and a show! Eric Sundquist PhD '78, Professor in the Humanities, will deliver the keynote lecture titled "We Dreamed a Dream: Ralph Ellison, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Barack Obama." 
  • Other speakers at dinner include President Ron Daniels, Dean Kathy Newman of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Pamela Flaherty, chair of the board of trustees. 
  • Before dinner, guests will have the opportunity to attend three themed cocktail parties/lectures. A professor will offer a lecture and a cocktail that reflects the theme of the lecture. For example, Franklin Knight of the history department will give a lecture on Latin America. There will be a rum tasting to go along with it. 
  • Six faculty members will lead their own seminars. No cocktails unfortunately in these. 
The rededication is similar to the University's "community celebration" of Gilman Hall which was held on Aug. 30. There were also seminars lead by professors and food. Though, the expense of the community celebration could hardly be equal to the one the University has planned for Saturday. The liquor will be flowing and the food much better than cookies and cake, making us wonder why did the students, who actually use  the building daily, not get such an event?

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    London School of Economics to Students: Don't Carry Samurai Weapons

    The London School of Economics told students not to carry weapons for personal protection, according to a photo posted on Facebook. Normally, this would not be news. However, the notice which was posted at a LSE residence hall told students not to carry "Samurai weapons/daggers/swords for your personal protection." A tipster notified us of the photo on a Facebook group for LSE students.

    Did LSE think of John Pontolillo, a Hopkins student who killed an intruder with a Samurai sword at his off-campus home last year? As Hopkins students, we can only wonder...

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Gilman Quad; 3:01 p.m.

    Photo: Hopkins Underground
    Happy Flamingo Day!
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