Influential business philosopher
The issues involved with conducting business globally, managing workplace diversity, developing corporate leaders and using business savvy to transform communities and nonprofit organizations fascinate James W. Calvin. He has devoted his professional career to exploring such topics and to inspiring future business leaders to think beyond the bottom line to consider how business is conducted and how it impacts society.
After earning an undergraduate degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Calvin pursued graduate studies at New York University, ultimately earning a doctorate (with distinction). A member of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School faculty since 1996, he serves as associate professor of management and director of the school’s Leadership Development Program for Minority Managers.
Beyond the classroom, Calvin consults with federal agencies, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and General Services Administration, national and local foundations, nonprofits and several national and international business organizations including Fannie Mae, General Electric, Verizon, KPMG, GENCO, PepsiCo, Xerox Quality Services, the Brookings Institution, QVC Inc., the World Bank and DaimlerChrysler
He contributes as a board member of the Academy of Management, the International Society for the Advancement of Management, The Diversity Leadership Council and the Johns Hopkins Black Faculty and Staff Association as well as on the editorial boards of several national and international journals.
Problem Solver: Behind the Scenes
Destiny drew Carlina Carter to Johns Hopkins. After full days as a student at Western High School, she used to hop on light rail, then transfer to the Metro subway so she could meet her mother (who worked then at the Department of Internal Medicine) to catch a ride home. Soon enough, the younger Carter was helping out and on the payroll. She’s worked in East Baltimore ever since, moving through various positions, at the School of Medicine into various positions at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she is now the administrator for the Department of Mental Health. Carter’s “expertise, particularly her knowledge of policies and university software, have made her highly sought out for advice and training across our School and into other divisions,” her department chair boasts. “She carries out a highly stressful and dynamic role with professionalism, grace, kindness, and enthusiasm.”
Carter’s rise was gradual, and she gained skills and education throughout her almost twenty-five year career at Johns Hopkins. Along the way she earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the Carey School, and has almost completed a master’s degree from the University of Maryland. Her interactions with investigators and study participants in various research grants sparked an interest in legal issues, prompting her to complete a paralegal program and consider law school. “I used to be shy, but now I like being the point person and working my magic to solve problems,” she says. Carter enjoys facilitating the scholarly research conducted by Johns Hopkins investigators. “I like working behind the scenes, understanding how the money moves around.” She spends her days preparing and administering annual budgets; managing more than $5 million in endowment, discretionary, restricted, and private funds; ensuring compliance for federal and international grants; allocating clinical and office space for faculty and staff; developing departmental policies; and supervising the department’s administrative staff.
“I’ve developed a lot of people skills here,” Carter gratefully asserts. “It feels good to be able to triage difficult situations, to be the person behind the scenes who helps usher grants to completion.” Knowing how to analyze, negotiate, and coordinate both people and money have proved useful as she raised her son, too. “Johns Hopkins is my second home,” she says. “It’s where I thrive and feel most productive.”
Benefactor of mankind
Emmanuel Chambers regarded his work as a waiter at the Baltimore Club as a profession of honor, and his legacy of service continues long after his death. Chambers joined the staff of the Baltimore Club in 1907 and remained with the institution after its merger with the Maryland Club in 1933. He became known not only for his gracious service but also as an on-call personal assistant who could conjure up difficult-to-secure opera and train tickets and could produce forgotten ties and collar buttons. During three decades as a waiter, Chambers lived on his salary and, with the help of a friend, invested his tips, amassing $150,000. After his death in 1945, his will provided for the creation of the Emmanuel Chambers Foundation to use his fortune to benefit the greater Baltimore community. By 1965, the foundation’s holdings were worth more than $500,000, and grants from the foundation had benefited Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Peabody Institute along with other medical facilities and institutions of higher education. Grants to Johns Hopkins Hospital supported assistantships and work with “colored persons,” and grants to Peabody funded scholarships. In honor of his largesse, 20 years after his death, Chambers was honored with a portrait to hang in Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the unveiling, Stuart Olivier, a bank official and then president of the Chambers Foundation said of Chambers, “His life speaks for itself. He was dedicated to the service of mankind while he lived, and his will is just a continuance. He had no education, was no bank president nor president of a university, but during his life he had a fortune larger than the combined membership of the club members he waited on.”
Physician/scientist and dedicated mentor
A self-described nerd, Janine Austin Clayton arrived at Johns Hopkins University as a freshman knowing exactly what she wanted to get out of her education at the school. She dove into her coursework and balanced her academic pursuits with dance classes at the Peabody Institute, and trips to nearby museums. Clayton was aware that she was one of a small number of African American students on campus, but she was not fixated on it. Her focus was on a degree, and a career in medicine and science. Thoughts of paving the way for other blacks at Hopkins would come later. She volunteered at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the neonatal unit, she worked for the psychology department and she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
As a student studying natural sciences, she valued the time she spent conducting research and working in labs – opportunities not usually afforded undergraduate students on many college campuses. That research experience combined with the policy side of medicine would serve her well in her career as a physician/scientist, and top government health official. Clayton, a board certified ophthalmologist, and director of the Office of Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, is an authority on eye diseases and an advocate for the inclusion of female animals and cells in preclinical research design. Her specialties include sex and gender in health and disease, global women’s health, public health and women’s eye health.
Clayton graduated from Hopkins in 1984, and from Howard University College of Medicine in 1989. She completed her residency at the Medical College of Virginia in 1993, followed by
fellowships with the Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute and the National Eye Institute. An authority on autoimmune ocular diseases, and the role of sex and gender in health and disease, she has authored more than 80 scientific publications, journals and book chapters.
Along with her husband, Robert B. Clayton, a successful attorney who also graduated from Hopkins in 1984, Janine Clayton has remained close to her alma mater, serving on the Alumni Council and with the Society of Black Alumni (SOBA), and participating in the mentoring, recruitment and enhancement of the black student experience on campus.
Giving back to the university is important to Clayton. Equally important is the chance to be a role model to young African American students at Hopkins – the students who would follow her and experience the same academic rigor and social ups and downs that she faced as a black undergrad at JHU. “We want to see them do well and to let them know they don’t have to be one way at Hopkins.”
In Johns Hopkins University, Clayton found an environment where she could nurture her desire to become a doctor while indulging her creative side. In Clayton, the university produced a bright and thoughtful young woman dedicated to both her career, and the African American students who would come after her.
Accomplished litigator and dedicated mentor
By any measure, Robert B. Clayton was a model Johns Hopkins University student. A member of the Black Student Union, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and four-year member of the varsity basketball team, including two years as captain, he was as passionate about his extracurricular activities as he was about his academic pursuits. From his first days on campus, Clayton noticed the lack of diversity. The group of 35 African Americans who matriculated along with him made the transition to the mostly white Hopkins manageable – even memorable. Upon his graduation in 1984, Clayton went on to earn a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1987, and start a successful family law and civil litigation career in Los Angeles where he commutes from the home he shares in Maryland with his wife, Dr. Janine Clayton, an ophthalmologist, and fellow Hopkins graduate.
Clayton’s accomplishments are many. Through his law practice, he has handled an extensive portfolio of family law cases in his representation of high-profile clients, including a number of well-known celebrities and professional athletes. In 1994, he was voted “Lawyer of the Year” by Freedom Magazine, a southern California publication serving Los Angeles’ African American community. He is a longtime member of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, which produces the annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. While building his professional career, Clayton has remained active in his alma mater, serving on the National Alumni Schools Committee the Second Decade Society, and the Alumni Council Executive Committee. He has provided insights on key Hopkins strategic initiatives such as the formation of the Center for African Studies.
For all of his accomplishments, it is his service to his alma mater, especially to the university’s African American students and alumni that holds a special place in his heart. He is particularly proud of his work with the Johns Hopkins Society of Black Alumni (SOBA) with which he served as one of its inaugural committee members in 1994. He went on to serve as its vice president and is now the group’s longest serving president, having taken on the role in 2002. During this time, he oversaw the installation of the inaugural SOBA Presidential Professor, the naming of the first SOBA scholarship recipient. He also helped form the Men of Color Hopkins Alliance (MOCHA), a mentoring program for male students of color at Hopkins. He often tells those young men and other students of color that they can do it all at Hopkins and not be excluded based on their race. “I don’t want the students who come after me to have a bad experience.”
Dragon-slaying music maker
The idea that the arts are integral to humanity shaped Eileen Cline’s life and her tenure as the dean of the Peabody Conservatory. “So many children, by the time they are 5 or 6 years old, think that the arts are only about being able to draw and sing at a level possible only for a ‘chosen’ few,” she has said. “I would like to do whatever I can to slay those dragons.”
An accomplished pianist, folk dancer and singer, Cline, now retired, dedicated her career to expanding arts opportunities for others. She taught music at the elementary, high school and university levels, owned a piano studio, founded the Boulder Children’s Choir and served as executive director of the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, Connecticut.
In 1983, Cline became the first black to be appointed dean of the Peabody Conservatory and the only woman dean, at that time, of a major American conservatory of music. Cline’s dedication to inclusiveness enriched and expanded the Peabody community.
When her tenure ended in 1995, Cline continued to serve Johns Hopkins for four additional years as a senior university fellow in arts policy at the Institute for Policy Studies, and to influence music education policy through her membership on the boards for the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Symphony Orchestra League.
Genius for medical equity
Lisa Cooper asks questions and finds answers that cause the medical community to refine its practices. From what she refers to as her “exemplary professional home” at Johns Hopkins, Cooper, an internist, epidemiologist and professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, conducts landmark studies on racial and ethnic disparities in disease prevalence and risk and care delivery. In one study, she and her colleagues found that African-American patients treated by African-American physicians are more assertive and involved in their own care than those treated by white physicians. Another study showed that cultural and social factors strongly influence whether and where people seek help for mental illness.
In recognition of her promise, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded her a $500,000 unrestricted “genius grant” in 2007. She also has a Mid-Career Investigator Award for Patient-Oriented Research in Cardiovascular Health Disparities from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and is the principal investigator for the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities.
According to Myron E. Weisfeldt, chairman of the Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine, Cooper’s work is essential as the medical community strives to deliver high-quality care to an increasingly diverse patient population. “The best physicians are going to be those who understand the purpose and the substance of Lisa Cooper’s scholarship and her extraordinary understanding of clinical care,” he said. “There’s no question that her work will inspire generations to come of doctors and doctors-in-training.”
Engineering a Life of Service
Electrical engineering caught James Cross’s imagination at an early age, and teachers at his segregated high school in Hampton, Virginia, nurtured that curiosity. He applied only to colleges and universities offering engineering programs and was accepted by several, but the bid from Johns Hopkins was the most generous, offering a sizeable scholarship that was supplemented by the National Scholarship Service & Fund for Negro Students. As one of the first African American undergraduates on the Homewood campus, Cross was often asked why he chose Hopkins. His response: “Hopkins chose me.”
Cross was a busy undergraduate. He played football his freshman year, but it was his prowess on the track team that helped assure continued scholarship funding. He maintained a job in the cafeteria all four years and entered the ROTC program, which provided a reliable income of $22 a month for the first two years and $52 a month the last two years. “Between ROTC and working, I always had some spending change,” he recalls. But, he also admits, “It was very challenging keeping up with my studies. I was tired all the time.” He also recognized needs and found solutions, as he and a classmate had a telephone installed in their room, permitting other students to use it at half the cost of the only pay phone in their dormitory. He similarly collected enough money to purchase a television set for the dorm.
Participation in ROTC meant a two-year commitment for active duty and five years of reserve duty in the US Army. Cross served in a Mapping and Engineering Intelligent Unit at the United States Army Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany when the Berlin wall was being constructed. He was in charge of a map depot there, with fifty American soldiers and twenty German civilians under his command. His second year was spent at the Engineering Intelligence Center where he evaluated reports and maintained files on all of the bridges in East Germany.
Ten days after leaving Germany, in September 1962, Cross joined the faculty of the relatively new Department of Electrical Engineering at Southern University in Louisiana. Two years later, he became department chairman, a position he held for 27 years. At the same time, he continued his own education at Louisiana State University, becoming the first Black student to receive a master’s degree in engineering there. He notes, “As a Johns Hopkins graduate, I had respect from the faculty when in graduate school. While in graduate school at the University of Florida, I was also listed as a faculty member and while in graduate school at LSU, I was listed as an instructor when teaching a laboratory.”
Cross’s career made a radical turn after frustrating attempts to secure a PhD in electrical engineering at two different universities. “There were no Black students in the engineering PhD programs,” he explains, “and it became quite apparent that I wasn’t going to change that. So, having an interest in religion, I eventually became a student at Christian Bible College of Baton Rouge, earning a bachelor’s, master’s, and a doctorate degree in theology.” Cross has been a part-time member of the faculty there since 1983, where he feels “blessed to be able to teach church pastors.”
Community programs and activities keep Cross involved in a wide variety of concerns. Participation with a Citizen Advisory Board for a Housing and Urban Development community improvement program resulted in an invitation to present a paper at an international housing conference in Saudi Arabia. Cross currently serves on the board of directors of both the Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Councils on Human Relations, and on the Fire and Police Civil Service Board for the City of Baker, Louisiana. “Johns Hopkins,” he says, “prepared me well for a career of service and a life well lived.”
Dr. Cross was selected to participate in the Hopkins Oral History Project. Listen to his interview.
Trailblazer: Homewood Hero
Victor Dates came to Johns Hopkins in 1956 as a day student. The Baltimore native recalls undergraduate life as intellectually stimulating, a time when he made lifelong friends and contacts. “I like Johns Hopkins,” he says. “It did well for me, particularly my psychological growth.” Hopkins liked Dates, too, apparently, because in 1966—after he had secured a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and served for two years in the US Army—JHU President Milton Eisenhower invited Dates back to the Homewood campus to assume a newly created position. The Baltimore Sun reported then that Dates was “the first Negro to hold a high administrative post” and would report directly to Eisenhower “on all matters of equal opportunity and civil rights.” Dates worked closely with admissions and financial aid officers to help recruit more African American undergraduate and graduate students both locally and nationally, and developed initiatives for nondiscrimination in faculty and administrative staff positions. From 1970 to 1976, Dates served as secretary of the university, responsible for public relations, alumni affairs, special events, community affairs, development, and fiscal operations. He worked closely with the board of trustees, developing meeting agendas, ensuring that its policies were disseminated, and managing the day-to-day activities of the executive committee.
Although he never practiced as an attorney, Dates credits his legal education with instilling rigor and preparing him for a multifaceted and successful career. “Law school teaches you to write well and prepares you for many fields,” he suggests. By 1975, Dates was ready for new challenges. Shifting to Morgan State University, he became special assistant to the president for policy and program development, working on long-range academic planning, coordinating activities with the state legislature and educational agencies to obtain funding for operations and scholarships, and managing both internal and external relations and communications. Then, from 1978 to 1981, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County lured Dates to Catonsville to direct its Office of University Relations and Development.
During much of the ‘80s, Dates became an investment banker and acquired new skills and understanding of business and government, working with lawyers, accountants, and customer officials. By then his wife, Janette Lake Dates (JHU MA Ed ’64), had become dean of the School of Communications at Howard University; she mentioned that Howard needed instructors to teach law in its School of Business and Dates’s career took yet another turn as he embraced teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses in general and commercial law. Later, Dates also taught at Coppin State College, served as an educational consultant to the Baltimore City Public School System, and chaired the Department of Business Management at Southeastern University in Washington, DC.
Beyond his professional responsibilities, Victor Dates assumed leading roles in numerous prominent organizations, particularly Planned Parenthood and Common Cause. “I was attracted to Planned Parenthood early on, because it provides so many wonderful health services for both men and women, especially in the African American community,” he says. “At Common Cause of Maryland, we develop good, effective legislation that will improve government. I often testify about bills when the legislature is in session.”
John Guess, who was an undergraduate during Dates’s administrative tenure at JHU in the 1960s recalls Victor Dates as a trailblazer and a hero. Dates, Guess says, “led the internal fight in the mid-sixties to have the university become aggressive in its recruitment of African Americans. Through internal university memoranda and personal conversations, Victor Dates made the case to have many of us follow him in matriculation and graduation from Johns Hopkins.” Guess urges more recognition: “So many of the African American students, professors, and administrators at Homewood owe our presence at Hopkins to Victor Dates.”
Healing with Dignity, Inspiring Others
Dr. James Davis entered the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine after spending time as an undergraduate at Wesleyan University and graduated from JHSM in 1974. Before his lifetime of work as a conscientious and caring physician, infectious disease specialist, and champion for the better treatment of Blacks in healthcare, Davis was born in Little Rock, Arkansas to parents who were both educators. Davis subsequently spent time moving place to place, from Washington D.C. to California; during these formative years, Davis gained a wealth of perspective on the difficulties African-Americans experienced across the country as the Civil Rights Movement happened around him throughout his formative years. This includes personally knowing members of the Little Rock Nine and being recruited to Wesleyan, and then attending Johns Hopkins as one of the few Black students on campus through the 2-5 program, a program that allowed exceptionally performing students to begin medical school after a transitional first year.
Davis commented on how moving from the intense segregation of Arkansas to the less overt discrimination of D.C. gave him hope, such as seeing “African Americans working in department stores… working for the US government; that sort of inspires you, because you can see that they could do it, and then you feel, “Well, I can do that too.”” However, after gaining early admittance to the Johns Hopkins Medical School at age 20, Davis noticed a lot of Black students struggling and being treated unfairly and he quickly stepped into the role of mentor and advocate; this was during a time where there were only 13 Black medical students and no Black faculty members.
Davis says the faculty members were determined to prove that he and his Black peers did not belong, and Davis saw that the discrimination had also infected the nurses and doctors in the community as well, as he worked in the Baltimore community as a medical student. These experiences helped him realize his life’s ambition, notably wearing a suit to graduation instead of a cap and gown as an individual protest to the prevalent racism he experienced at Hopkins. After graduating, time and again, Davis confronted racism within the medical community and the struggles of working in an extremely difficult and limited healthcare system; he says he was, “exposed to a tremendous amount of racism, not only me but to a lot of patients – I saw a lot of disrespect.” Davis then went on to work at the Harlem Hospital in New York, Howard University Hospital in D.C., multiple private practices, supported the Trans-Africa and anti-apartheid movement with Randall Robinson, served on multiple medical boards, and worked across the country for over 45 years before retiring, as a trailblazing physician serving Blacks every step of the way. He now serves as the Medical Director of his wife’s Home Care Agency, supporting elder care in D.C.
While Miriam DeCosta–Willis experienced the challenges of “being a black woman in a white man‘s world,” her life story demonstrates her ability to transcend those challenges. The child of two college professors, she grew up in the South but moved north in 1950 to help integrate Westover School in Connecticut. She describes her two years there as painful, yet she left the school with high honors.
After earning a bachelor‘s degree from Wellesley College she earned both her master‘s degree and in 1966, she earned a doctoral degree at Johns Hopkins. After obtaining her degree, DeCosta–Willis was appointed the first black faculty member at Memphis State University.
Throughout her 40-year career in education, DeCosta-Willis, a Spanish language and African-American studies scholar, held administrative and faculty posts at Howard University, George Mason University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Now retired, she remains a lifelong civil rights activist and writer. In addition to serving as co-founder of the Memphis Black Writers’ Workshop, she has published several books.
Dr. Miriam DeCosta-Willis died January 7, 2021
Raised by a widowed mother facing health issues, Shirley Dilsworth moved from New Jersey to Baltimore as a young girl. As she was about to graduate from Western High School, she was invited to apply to Johns Hopkins and was admitted. It was the fall of 1970, the first year that Johns Hopkins began accepting female undergraduates, and among the 90 admitted were five black women: Dilsworth, two fellow freshmen, Karen Freeman Burdnell and Gail Williams, and two transfer students, Lynn Parker and Barbara Wyche.
A focused student, Dilsworth lived at home and worked part time at the Enoch Pratt Free Library throughout her college years. She remembered a sixth-grade teacher telling her that she could not achieve her dream of becoming a lawyer. Instead of discouraging her, such comments fueled her determination to succeed.
Following her graduation from Johns Hopkins, Dilsworth earned two law degrees and worked for many prestigious companies. She is currently the divisional vice president of human resources for Nordstrom’s Credit Division and Corporate Center and an active community leader.
Conservator of books and the black community
When author Alex Haley came to Maryland to unveil a memorial to his legendary ancestor Kunta Kinte, many fans sought his autograph. Martha Edgerton was probably the only one who had him sign a copy of his masterwork, “Roots,” that she had personally rebound.
The theme of conserving treasures permeates Edgerton’s life and professional career. After completing a five-year apprenticeship at the John Hopkins Milton S. Eisenhower Library, she became the program’s first graduate in 1980. That same year, Edgerton represented the American Research Libraries Group in England at the first international conference on preservation/ conservation. She continued her professional growth as a member of local and national preservation organizations and through an internship in the rare books section of the Library of Congress.
For more than 30 years, Edgerton worked as an integral member of the Eisenhower Library staff, as a book and paper conservator and as a teacher and organizer in several consultancy, internship and workshop programs supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. While working at the library, she conserved many materials of great value including a very rare four-volume set of Audubon’s “Birds of America” and a 16th century “Luther Bible” and she took a leadership role in developing and participating in the library’ exhibits program.
Edgerton’s interests extended beyond the library to a different type of conservation, that of uniting and addressing the needs of the black community at Johns Hopkins. “As an attendee of the very first public meeting for the formation of the Black Faculty and Staff Association, I was in full agreement with its mission and became actively involved,” said Edgerton. She became an executive board member and was elected the organization’s president in 2005. During her presidency, she helped strengthen the organization’s funding from Johns Hopkins, enhanced its programming by bringing in notable presenters such as civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, continued efforts to persuade the university to add an African studies curriculum and encouraged other Johns Hopkins campuses to participate in the BFSA.
Edgerton left Johns Hopkins in 2008 to manage the Preservation Unit of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. She volunteers at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Benjamin Banneker Museum. She teaches workshops related to book and paper preservation/ conservation, bookbinding, and BookArt-this last her personal passion.
A Brilliant Mind
Ralph Etienne-Cummings developed his passion for math and science as a young boy growing up in his native Seychelles, an archipelago of islands northeast of Africa, and in England where he lived for long periods of his youth with his grandmother. The product of teenage parents, including a mother who stressed education, Etienne-Cummings turned out to be a bright child with a knack for fixing things and figuring out problems. In the U.K., he attended a strict Benedictine school where he rose to be a top student in his class and excelled as an athlete.
The year before he graduated from high school, Etienne-Cummings moved with his family to New Orleans where he continued on a path that would eventually lead him to Johns Hopkins University. Here, he is a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering – one of only a few black faculty in the school. Etienne-Cummings landed at Hopkins by way of Lincoln University near Philadelphia where he majored in physics and took an interest in electronics. He went on to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering.
While in undergraduate school, Etienne-Cummings started thinking about research as a career. His focus would be where biology and electronics meet. One area where Etienne-Cummings has made a name for himself at JHU and among engineers, and federal funding agencies, is with his years-long quest to develop a spinal implant that will help people paralyzed from the waist down regain movement and sensation. His research interests also include systems and algorithms for biologically inspired and low-power processing, biomorphic robots, applied neuroscience, neural prosthetics, and computer integrated surgical systems and technologies. He holds seven patents and has mentored over thirty-five students at the graduate level.
At Hopkins, Etienne-Cummings has sponsored a number of diversity and mentoring programs, including serving as co-chair of the Diversity Committee, and as a mentor of the Whiting School’s Robotics Club. Etienne-Cummings has also served as a consulting engineer for several technology firms, including Nova Sensors, Inc., and Panasonic N. American & Corporation.
Aside from his science, Etienne-Cummings feels strongly about bringing more people of color, particularly African Americans, into the engineering fold. He is also among those at Johns Hopkins who have been asked by university leadership to help recruit black faculty to JHU, and to the Whiting School. “It’s super important,” he said. “In engineering and the university in general we have to do better. Having a diverse faculty matters. You have to have role models. Otherwise, how do you convince yourself that you are good enough to be in places like a Hopkins or a Stanford?”
Champion of Change—Black Faculty and Staff Association Founder
The Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) came together, as so many advocacy groups do, over lunch and a conversation. Lunch was at the Polo Grill, then a restaurant across from Homewood Field, and the people who had gathered to talk were black senior staff members concerned about the lack of support for people of color at Johns Hopkins.
Toni Moore-Duggan, one of the participants, recalled how that lunch and subsequent discussions among the staff members led to their decision in 1995 to establish the BFSA.
“After graduating from Johns Hopkins and while working there, it became evident that there was no voice or forum for black people having difficulties here,” said Moore-Duggan, a certified nurse practitioner who worked at the institution for
At first, Moore-Duggan said, she and the other staff members were not sure if anyone would buy into efforts to create a forum for people of color, but they did. Seventeen years later, the group is not only going strong but has expanded its mission: to help foster a culture of collaboration by promoting and enhancing the identity and professional welfare and growth of faculty, staff and students through collaborations, community service, education, research and cultural activities. The BFSA has also charged itself with being a crucial resource for the continued success of Johns Hopkins through the development and cultivation of relationships with key leaders of the institution.
Michael Freeman, a former senior academic adviser at Johns Hopkins University, now serves as vice president for student affairs at Tennessee State University. In 2010, he participated in the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Institutional Educational Management Program. He earned a doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park.
In becoming one of the first two black people to earn a medical degree from Johns Hopkins, in 1967, Robert Gamble was fulfilling what he saw as a family legacy. He grew up hearing the story of how his grandfather, Henry Floyd Gamble, graduated with a medical degree from Yale University in 1891, paying his way through school by working as a waiter and janitor.
Before entering Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Gamble had earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Howard University in 1963 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Gamble, whose only brother also became a physician, worked in New York as a neurosurgeon.