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Magnificent gift to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg pledge: $55 million guarantees strength of university in a time of change


MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG's pledge of $55 million brings confidence to the Johns Hopkins University, the most important institution in metropolitan Baltimore, at a crucial time.

The gift is to be distributed among all schools of the university, reinforcing the dependence of each on the vigor and reputation of the others. It comes midway through the Johns Hopkins Initiative, which now enjoys commitments of $467 million toward its fund-raising goal of $900 million by February 2000.

This generosity coincides with a presidential search, which has been delayed by the diversion of trustee attention toward restructuring the governance of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in East Baltimore. This pledge tells presidential candidates that JHU is going full speed past its obstacles, and that, with so much going for it, they should covet the job.

William C. Richardson left the presidency after only five years to head the giant W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Just a year ago, he unveiled the ambitious $900 million campaign to insure Johns Hopkins' future eminence. This sum incorporates the great pledge of $50 million to arts and sciences by Zanvyl Krieger. Tensions in the Hopkins medical establishment requiring attention come from the anxieties gripping research medicine during traumatic change in the medical economics of this county.

Mr. Krieger's generosity strengthened the academic heart of the university. Inspired by his example, Mr. Bloomberg more than matched it.

The donor founded Bloomberg Financial Markets in 1981. Its communications systems are indispensable to financial markets. The public knows it through Bloomberg Business News and its expansion from wire service into radio, television and magazines.

A Johns Hopkins electrical engineering graduate Class of '64, Mr. Bloomberg has previously given generously to the university -- the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, for instance. He chairs the fund-raising campaign and will succeed Morris W. Offit as chairman of the trustees next summer. In the annals of American philanthropy, he is unusually young at 53 to be giving in such magnitude.

Coming during the interim presidency of Nobel laureate Prof. Daniel Nathans, the Bloomberg pledge and other gifts announced over the weekend insure stability and academic growth for the Johns Hopkins University as it adapts to the future.

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