Dear Whiting School Community,
On the afternoon of September 15, alumni, friends, faculty, students, and staff gathered on the Decker Quad to celebrate the naming of Hackerman Hall, (formerly the Computational Science and Engineering building) the Whiting School of Engineering’s newest research facility, and to thank Willard ’38 and Lillian Hackerman for their decades of support for the school and Johns Hopkins.
Hackerman Hall’s dedication was a wonderful event, and the video, reception, and lab tours were cause for excitement and pride. For me, however, a speech by Britni Lonesome ’10 was the day’s highlight.
Like Willard, Britni is a Baltimore native and graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic High School (Poly). She received her BS in chemical and biomolecular engineering last year, and she has stayed on to pursue an MS in engineering management. As an undergraduate, Britni was a Hackerman Scholar—one of a growing group of Poly alumni whose entire undergraduate education has been supported by Willard.
At the dedication, she spoke of her gratitude for the opportunities Willard provided, noting that without his help, attending Johns Hopkins wouldn’t even have been an option. But, she added, “the greatest contribution Mr. Hackerman has made to me has no price tag.” She said Willard’s most important legacy was instilling in her “the value of giving back” and making her understand the debt that she now owes to provide opportunities for others.
It struck me that this obligation is also a core value of the Whiting School. It manifests itself in our education and research programs, and our relationships with alumni and friends.
As dean, it is my responsibility to provide opportunities. But in order to do this—enable new research ventures and educational programs, hire the best faculty to mentor our students, and secure funding for scholarships and fellowships—I rely on our alumni and friends and their desire to “give back.”
The philanthropic support you provide is critical to our success. But, as Britni pointed out, valuable contributions also can come without a price tag. The alumni who mentor undergraduates or hire our students as summer interns and the parents whose businesses recruit at the Whiting School also are giving back in ways that are equally essential.
The School’s continued excellence relies, in part, on your willingness to help shoulder this obligation. Together, we can provide opportunities to conduct research that improves our world and educate our next generation of leaders in innovation and technology.
Nicholas P. Jones
Benjamin T. Rome Dean, Whiting School of Engineering