A loss for Hopkins and Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun

Dr. William R. Brody's imprint on Baltimore extends well beyond the Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus or its medical institutions in East Baltimore. The new student housing and bookstore in the heart of Charles Village. The sprawling Bayview complex on the old City Hospitals site. The transformation of former Eastern High School in Waverly. The expansion of the Peabody Institute downtown.

But bricks and mortar won't be Dr. Brody's chief legacy. His entrepreneurial genius and global vision for Maryland's largest employer have set Hopkins on a 21st-century course and posed a challenge for the university's board of trustees - Dr. Brody will be one tough act to follow.

After 12 years as Hopkins' president, Dr. Brody is retiring. In that time, he has increased the university's portfolio - there are several overseas operations underway - and its endowment. But Baltimore benefited as well. It had an engaged citizen in Dr. Brody, but more important, a willing partner in its progress. Hopkins' expansion not only increased jobs in Baltimore, it also helped revitalize neighborhoods across the city. While other presidents profess commitment to their school's hometown, Dr. Brody lived it, and where possible, improved upon it.

He understood the symbiotic relationship between Hopkins and the city. A better Baltimore was good for Hopkins and a thriving, innovative university would be very good for Baltimore. Hopkins doctors treat city residents privately and in public clinics. Its public health researchers are assessing the city's gun and violence problem. Hopkins educators have helped improve city schools, and its scientists have studied cancer risks of industrial sites in South Baltimore.

It's that commitment to the greater Hopkins community that we hope the new president will embrace. Dr. Brody's successor also will be the steward of the biotech center underway in the neighborhood near the Hopkins Broadway medical complex. The needs and concerns of local residents must remain a priority as Hopkins seeks to capitalize on the promise of transferring its biotech expertise into private commercial uses.

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