Education: Academic Democracy

Baltimore's research-minded Johns Hopkins University has a reputation that far outstrips its size (1,764 undergraduates, 2,038 grad students). Its fame lured Milton Eisenhower—former head of Kansas State and Penn State and adviser to four U.S. Presidents—to its presidency in 1956. Last week Johns Hopkins landed a seasoned scholar-diplomat to succeed him: Lincoln Gordon, 53, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.

Founded with a $7,000,000 gift from Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Magnate Johns Hopkins in 1876, the university pioneered graduate education in the U.S. Its School of Medicine blazed trails in public health, bacteriology and epidemiology, fashioned the modern clinical training of...

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