September 7, 2009

Daniels to be installed as president

His peers know him as a gifted academic leader, noted scholar and energetic collaborator with a passion for engaging global and national minds, as well as those closer to home. This week, Ronald J. Daniels will add another appellation when he is installed as the 14th president of The Johns Hopkins University.

Daniels, who has served in the post since March, is scheduled to be installed at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13, in Shriver Hall Auditorium on the Homewood campus. He succeeds William R. Brody, who led the university for 12 years, before retiring in February. Brody, now president of the Salk Institute, is slated to attend, as are two other past presidents, Steven Muller and William C. Richardson.

“This is a profound moment in the history of Johns Hopkins,” said Jerry Schnydman, secretary of the board of trustees and executive assistant to the president, who has served under five of the university’s presidents. “This is only the 14th installation, and each one has resulted in a renewal of purpose, hope and aspirations for this great university.”

Daniels will use the occasion of his installation to lay out his vision for Johns Hopkins and to dedicate himself and the university to the community surrounding its campuses. It will be the first time that Daniels speaks publicly about his plans for the 133-year-old institution.

The inaugural convocation and installation will feature the kind of pomp and circumstance reserved for events like commencement, with participants in full academic regalia. Daniels, formerly provost and chief academic officer of the University of Pennsylvania, will officially receive the presidential insignia, a sterling silver ceremonial necklace engraved with the portraits and names of the presidents of the university and signifying the authority vested in the president by the board of trustees.

About 700 invited guests are expected to attend the event, including Maryland Gov. Martin J. O’Malley, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, as well as a host of officials from peer institutions, including Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, and 12 other sitting presidents.

The convocation and installation will be preceded by several events meant to recognize the official start of Daniels’ tenure (for details, see related box). On Friday morning, Daniels will greet faculty and staff of the Homewood schools with coffee and pastries and later host an ice-cream social for all Homewood students. Later in the afternoon, the Bloomberg School of Public Health will welcome him.

On Saturday morning, Daniels will join students, faculty, staff and their families for the RD2.5K Presidential Fun Run, a noncompetitive jog through the Homewood campus. In the afternoon, Daniels, along with more than 1,000 members of the Johns Hopkins community, will fan out across the city to take part in a President’s Day of Service, a volunteer effort designed to help clean up and repair city neighborhoods and buildings. Later in the day, the university will host its annual block party, known as Convergence, for its Charles Village neighbors. An inaugural dinner at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel for invited guests will conclude the day.

A number of the university’s major divisions have planned their own events for later this month and next to welcome Daniels and to give their students, faculty and staff a chance to meet the new president.

The highlight, though, is President Daniels’ installation on Sunday.

The day will begin with brunch for invited guests in the Johns Hopkins Club and the Glass Pavilion. As is customary, the inaugural convocation will begin with a procession of trustees, faculty and special guests, led by Ben Carson, director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, in the role of chief marshal. The Rev. Albert Mosley, university chaplain, will deliver the invocation, followed by the national anthem sung by Tariq Al-Sabir, a student at the Peabody Preparatory and a junior at the Baltimore School for the Arts. Pamela Flaherty, chair of the board of trustees, will then welcome and recognize distinguished visitors, and Lloyd Minor, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, will introduce the greeters.

The co-ed a cappella group Octopodes will perform a selection preceding the installation of Daniels, who will then address his guests. A cocktail reception under a tent on the Wyman Quadrangle will conclude the event.

The 90-minute ceremony will be the culmination of a busy time for Daniels, who took office in early March following his unanimous election by the board last November. Since 2005, Daniels had been provost at Penn, where he was responsible for, among other areas, undergraduate and graduate education, faculty affairs, global initiatives, student life, athletics and admissions. Prior to holding that post, he was dean of the Faculty of Law and James M. Tory Professor of Law at the University of Toronto.

Daniels rose to the top of the list among nearly 300 nominees in the search for Brody’s successor.

“Ron is a strategic thinker, known for articulating and implementing bold and visionary academic ideas and initiatives,” Flaherty said just after Daniels was named Johns Hopkins president. “He impressed the committee with his passion for the academic enterprise, his record of academic entrepreneurship and his commitment to building excellence in both the basic sciences and multidisciplinary research centers and institutes.”

During his tenure at Penn, Daniels was credited with helping to accelerate the institution’s rise among universities and expanding its global relationships. He also was instrumental in strengthening financial aid opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. On the faculty side, Daniels established mentoring and leadership development programs for faculty, strengthened appointment and promotion standards, and enriched strategies to recruit and retain faculty, especially among women and underrepresented minorities.

Daniels, who earned an LLM from Yale University and a JD and BA from the University of Toronto, is married to Joanne Rosen, a human rights lawyer. They are the parents of four teenagers.

In the six months that he has been in the presidential job, Daniels has been a student of sorts, as he gets to know the ins and outs of Johns Hopkins and prepares to embark on his goals and objectives for the university. His class load has included meetings with deans, faculty and senior administrators, and he has immersed himself in the culture of the Johns Hopkins community.

Daniels has also spent time with state and community leaders in an effort to learn about how Johns Hopkins fits in the broader landscape.

To view a live webcast of the induction ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13, go to

administration/president/inauguration/index.html. Videos of President Daniels’ speech and of the entire ceremony are scheduled to be available on the inauguration Web site the following day.