This coming spring will mark the 50th anniversary of commencement for the first full undergraduate class at Hopkins that included women. That’s quite a milestone for the university and for this remarkable group of women, many of whom will return to campus for Reunion Weekend 2024, April 5–7, to share their stories.
During their four years at Hopkins, that group of female undergraduates faced challenges and even obstacles at times. Not everyone was pleased with their arrival. But they knew they were breaking new ground, and they pursued their studies with dedication and vigor.
The move to accept women to its undergraduate programs was a sea change for the university and a positive, if belated, step in the right direction to bring new and important voices to our campus and classroom lives. Now, half a century later, our quest to welcome diverse voices to our community is stronger than ever—indeed it is the only way we will continue to grow and flourish.
Without different voices and viewpoints, a vibrant university like ours would not only be prone to navel-gazing, but also miss out on critical new knowledge that only arises when multiple efforts are made together in the name of a single goal: discovery.
It’s not just the discovery that happens in the classroom or the laboratory—it’s the understanding that we can hold diverse viewpoints on critical topics and still work side by side with respect for one another. In fact, our feature article on page 18 explores civic education and the importance of teaching our students how to productively engage with people who may have different opinions or ideas. If we ever expect to emerge from our nation’s current state of polarization, it’s critical that we first learn how to have dialogues across differing viewpoints.
As that determined and courageous first class of women at Hopkins knew, having an array of unique voices creates a community that is curious, engaged, and always discovering.
By ensuring that our community includes as wide an array of voices, viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences as possible, we hope to serve as a small-scale example of the kind of democracy our nation aspires to. Our community in all its richness remains at the heart of all we do. Thank you for making your voice a part of it.
Christopher S. Celenza
James B. Knapp Dean