10 Fun Facts about Johns Hopkins University

September 17, 2018

Quaker connections, mutant rabbit rumors, schizophrenic literary legends… Johns Hopkins has a long and storied past! Here are 10 fun facts from Johns Hopkins’ 140 years of existence that even current students don’t know! 

1. The S in Johns

Students can’t help but wince when outsiders call their beloved college “John Hopkins”... “There’s an S there: Johnsss Hopkins!” The school was named after the 18th-century Quaker entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. He was named after his great-grandmother: Margaret Johns. Upon his death in 1873, the childless Johns Hopkins left $7M to found a university and hospital in his (somewhat confusing) name. The donation broke records as the largest philanthropic gift in U.S. history.

2. Peabody Ties

America’s first academy of music, the Peabody Institute, became part of Johns Hopkins in 1985. It’s a conservatory that caters to musicians of all levels: beginners to Doctorate of Musical Arts. All can enjoy the beautifully designed Peabody Library. 

3. Steam Tunnels

There’s a steam tunnel system under Johns Hopkins’ Homewood and East Baltimore campus (entrances can be found under buildings by Merrick Barn). In the 1990s, a rumor circulated that mutant rabbits occupied the tunnels under the physics building. 

4. Presidential Glee

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson is a Hopkins alum. As a student, he sang “Star-Spangled Banner” with the university glee club; later, as president, made it the new national anthem. However, his time at Johns Hopkins was not particularly gleeful because of chronic migraines. He once told a classmate: “I came here to admire and have remained to scoff.” 

 

5. Lacrosse Pride

Lacrosse is the most popular sport at Johns Hopkins - even homecoming is in the spring instead of in the fall for football. The team first competed in 1904. They represented the U.S. in the 1932 Summer Olympics (pictured above). They’ve also won 44 national championships, including 9 NCAA Division 1 titles. In 2015, they joined the newly-formulated Big Ten for lacrosse, and won the inaugural Big Ten championship against Ohio State Buckeyes. 

 

 

6. First Research University

Johns Hopkins is the first research university in the United States. The school’s first president, Daniel Coit Gilman took the idea of merging teaching and research from the German education model of Alexander von Humboldt. Gilman argued “The best teachers are usually those who are free, competent and willing to make original researches in the library and the laboratory.” 

 

 

 

7. Famous Alums

Famous alums of Johns Hopkins include Wolf Blitzer, Wes Craven, Tori Amos, and John Astin - famous for playing Gomez Addams, he returned to Johns Hopkins in 2005 as a professor… Oh and Johns Hopkins has 22 Nobel Laureates! 

8. The Fitzgeralds

In 1932, F. Scott Fitzgerald took up residence across the street from Johns Hopkins University while his wife was patient at the university’s hospital (she was treated for schizophrenia). While in Baltimore, Zelda wrote her autobiographical novel “Save Me the Waltz” and F. Scott wrote “Tender Is the Night.”

9. From Humor to Mascot

The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays are the only mascot derived from a humor magazine. The “Black and Blue Jay” was a satirical student publication founded in the 1920s. After the magazine became popular, local newspapers stopped referring to Hopkins athletes as “the Black and Blue” and started calling them Blue Jays.

10. Bloomberg Billion

Michael Bloomberg attended Johns Hopkins in the 1960s, where he designed and built the school’s blue jay costume. He also served as the mascot at various lacrosse games. Never losing his school spirit, Bloomberg has donated over $1billion to Johns Hopkins over the past 40 years. 

Do you want to go to Johns Hopkins? Browse the application files of current students - learn what it takes to get accepted. Already a student? Get paid for sharing your application details and advice.



Browse Successful Application Files

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GA Tech ‘19


Accepted to , Illinois Tech, RIT, Clarkson, Stevens, GA Tech, Case, UMich, Illinois, Colorado, Rochester

Georgia Tech Class of 2019. Studying Computer Science. Working for Google in Summer 2016
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Yale ‘20


Accepted to Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Brown, UC Berkeley, Pomona, UCSB, Pepperdine, Wellesley, UCLA, USC

A Yalie Abroad
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Brown ‘23


Accepted to Brown, Amherst, Duke, Emory, Santa Clara, USC, Pacific, Vanderbilt, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, UC Davis, UC Irvine

Nature lover, STEM nerd. Will likely be late because of who I am as a person.
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Columbia ‘24


Accepted to Columbia, Northeastern, BU, Miami, UMass, UVM

Music-Loving Pre-Med studying Neuroscience

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