“We were America’s first research university and the model for higher education in this country and beyond,” Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels announced this week. “The time has come for a definitive book that chronicles our remarkable history.” So the school decided to commission one — from one of its own professors. What do you think are the chances that it’ll be anything close to objective?
Daniels tapped Bill Leslie, a 30-year Hopkins veteran and professor in the school’s History of Science and Technology Department, to pen the chronicle over the next five years. Leslie has already written “a somewhat unflattering account” of MIT and Stanford during the Cold War Era, and Daniels has reportedly encouraged him to be critical of Hopkins “when need be.”
Leslie’s book, which he hopes will make clear “how all the [university’s] divisions are connected,” seems of a piece with the school’s attempt to rebrand itself as a unified institution. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Leslie told the Hopkins Hub. “I hope it’s the best book I ever write.”
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