The philanthropist and the founding
On his death in 1873, Johns Hopkins, a Quaker entrepreneur, abolitionist and childless bachelor, bequeathed $7 million (approximately $144.5 million 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 Ceremonies introduced 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 Humboldtian model of higher education, the German education model of Wilhelm von Humboldt, it became dedicated to research. It was especially Heidelberg University and its long academic research history after which the new institution tried to model itself. 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.
Early years and Daniel Coit Gilman
The trustees worked alongside four notable university presidents – Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, Andrew D. White of Cornell, Noah Porter of Yale College and James B. Angell of Michigan. They each vouched for Daniel Coit Gilman to lead the new University and he became the university's first president. Gilman, a Yale-educated scholar, had been serving as president of the University of California prior to this appointment. In preparation for the university's founding, Gilman visited University of Freiburg and other German universities.
Hopkins Hall circa 1885, on the original downtown Baltimore campus
Gilman launched what many at the time considered an audacious and unprecedented academic experiment to merge teaching and research. He dismissed the idea that the two were mutually exclusive: "The best teachers are usually those who are free, competent and willing to make original researches in the library and the laboratory," he stated. To implement his plan, Gilman recruited internationally known luminaries such as the mathematician James Joseph Sylvester; the biologist H. Newell Martin; the physicist Henry A. Rowland (the first president of the American Physical Society), the classical scholars Basil Gildersleeve and Charles D. Morris; the economist Richard T. Ely; and the chemist Ira Remsen, who became the second president of the university in 1901.
Gilman focused on the expansion of graduate education and support of faculty research. The new university fused advanced scholarship with such professional schools as medicine and engineering. Hopkins became the national trendsetter in doctoral programs and the host for numerous scholarly journals and associations. The Johns Hopkins University Press, founded in 1878, is the oldest American university press in continuous operation.
With the completion of Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1889 and the medical school in 1893, the university's research-focused mode of instruction soon began attracting world-renowned faculty members who would become major figures in the emerging field of academic medicine, including William Osler, William Halsted, Howard Kelly, and William Welch. During this period Hopkins made more history by becoming the first medical school to admit women on an equal basis with men and to require a Bachelor's degree, based on the efforts of Mary E. Garrett, who had endowed the school at Gilman's request. The school of medicine was America's first coeducational, graduate-level medical school, and became a prototype for academic medicine that emphasized bedside learning, research projects, and laboratory training.
In his will and in his instructions to the trustees of the university and the hospital, Hopkins requested that both institutions be built upon the vast grounds of his Baltimore estate, Clifton. When Gilman assumed the presidency, he decided that it would be best to use the university's endowment for recruiting faculty and students, deciding to, as it has been paraphrased, "build men, not buildings." In his will Hopkins stipulated that none of his endowment should be used for construction; only interest on the principal could be used for this purpose. Unfortunately, stocks in The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which would have generated most of the interest, became virtually worthless soon after Hopkins's death. The university's first home was thus in Downtown Baltimore delaying plans to site the university in Clifton.
Move to Homewood and early 20th century history
Gilman Hall, flagship building of the Homewood campus
In the early 20th century the university outgrew its buildings and the trustees began to search for a new home. Developing Clifton for the university was too costly, and 30 acres (12 ha) of the estate had to be sold to the city as public park. A solution was achieved by a team of prominent locals who acquired the estate in north Baltimore known as Homewood. On February 22, 1902, this land was formally transferred to the university. The flagship building, Gilman Hall, was completed in 1915. The School of Engineering relocated in Fall of 1914 and the School of Arts and Sciences followed in 1916. These decades saw the ceding of lands by the university for the public Wyman Park and Wyman Park Dell and the Baltimore Museum of Art, coalescing in the contemporary area of 140 acres (57 ha).
Prior to becoming the main Johns Hopkins campus, the Homewood estate had initially been the gift of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a Maryland planter and signer of the Declaration of Independence, to his son Charles Carroll Jr. The original structure, the 1801 Homewood House, still stands and serves as an on-campus museum. The brick and marble Federal style of Homewood House became the architectural inspiration for much of the university campus. This fact explains the distinctively local flavour of the campus as compared to the Collegiate Gothic style of other historic American universities.
In 1909, the university was among the first to start adult continuing education programs and in 1916 it founded the US' first school of public health.
Since the 1910s, Johns Hopkins University has famously been a "fertile cradle" to Arthur Lovejoy's history of ideas.
The post-war era
Since 1942, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has served as a major governmental defense contractor. In tandem with on-campus research, Johns Hopkins has every year since 1979 had the highest federal research funding of any American university.
Professional schools of international affairs and music were established in 1950 and 1977, respectively, when the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington D.C and the Peabody Institute in Baltimore were incorporated into the university.
In the twenty-first century
The early decades of the 21st century saw expansion across the university's institutions in both physical and population sizes. Notably, a planned 88-acre expansion to the medical campus began in 2013. Completed construction on the Homewood campus has included a new biomedical engineering building in the Johns Hopkins University Department of Biomedical Engineering, a new library, a new biology wing, an extensive renovation of the flagship Gilman Hall, and the reconstruction of the main university entrance.
These years also brought about the rapid development of the university's professional schools of education and business. From 1999 until 2007, these disciplines had been joined together within the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education (SPSBE), itself a reshuffling of several earlier ventures. The 2007 split, combined with new funding and leadership initiatives, has led to the simultaneous emergence of the Johns Hopkins School of Education and the Carey Business School.
On November 18, 2018, it was announced that Michael Bloomberg would make a donation to his alma mater of $1.8 billion, marking the largest private donation in modern history to an institution of higher education and bringing Bloomberg's total contribution to the school in excess of $3.3 billion. Bloomberg's $1.8 billion gift allows the school to practice need-blind admission and meet the full financial need of admitted students.
Hopkins was a prominent abolitionist who supported Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. After his death, reports said his conviction was a decisive factor in enrolling Hopkins' first African-American student, Kelly Miller, a graduate student in physics, astronomy and mathematics. As time passed, the university adopted a "separate but equal" stance more like other Baltimore institutions.
The first black undergraduate entered the school in 1945 and graduate students followed in 1967.
James Nabwangu, a British-trained Kenyan, was the first black graduate of the medical school. African-American instructor and laboratory supervisor Vivien Thomas was instrumental in developing and conducting the first successful blue baby operation in 1944. Despite such cases, racial diversity did not become commonplace at Johns Hopkins institutions until the 1960s and 1970s.
Hopkins' most well-known battle for women's rights was the one led by daughters of trustees of the university; Mary E. Garrett, M. Carey Thomas, Mamie Gwinn, Elizabeth King, and Julia Rogers. They donated and raised the funds needed to open the medical school, and required Hopkins' officials to agree to their stipulation that women would be admitted. The nursing school opened in 1889 and accepted women and men as students. Other graduate schools were later opened to women by president Ira Remsen in 1907. Christine Ladd-Franklin was the first woman to earn a PhD at Hopkins, in mathematics in 1882. The trustees denied her the degree for decades and refused to change the policy about admitting women. In 1893, Florence Bascomb became the university's first female PhD. The decision to admit women at undergraduate level was not considered until the late 1960s and was eventually adopted in October 1969. As of 2009–2010, the undergraduate population was 47% female and 53% male.
Freedom of speech
On September 5, 2013 cryptographer and Johns Hopkins university professor Matthew Green posted a blog, entitled "On the NSA", in which he contributed to the ongoing debate regarding the role of NIST and NSA in formulating U.S. cryptography standards. On September 9, 2013 Green received a take-down request for the "On the NSA" blog from interim Dean Andrew Douglas from the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering. The request cited concerns that the blog had links to sensitive material. The blog linked to already published news articles from The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica.org. Douglas subsequently issued a personal on-line apology to Green. The event raised concern over the future of academic freedom of speech within the cryptologic research community.
Beginning April 3, 2019, protesters sat in to protest the university’s formation of a private campus police force. The protesters were arrested after a month long standoff.