President, The Johns Hopkins University

Ronald J. Daniels became the 14th president of The Johns Hopkins University in March 2009.

In his inaugural address, Daniels laid out three guiding themes for his presidency: building a shared vision for the university, fostering individual excellence and engaging the communities around us.

One University

Since arriving at Johns Hopkins, Daniels has worked with senior leadership to knit together a common university identity, a shared vision of Johns Hopkins that draws upon and enriches the identity of each of our schools, and the Applied Physics Laboratory. He has also worked closely with the Board of Trustees to support a comprehensive governance reform initiative, spearheaded by Chair Pam Flaherty that, among other things, reduced the size of the board from 105 to 35 members. As Chair of the Executive Committee for Johns Hopkins Medicine, he works closely with the trustees of Johns Hopkins Medicine, serving as a bridge between the university and health system.

He has made it a priority to work with deans, faculty and senior leadership to enhance collective decision-making across the institution and foster rich, multi-divisional partnerships. This work has produced a number of cross-school collaborations, among them the Military and Veterans Health Initiative, the Environment, Energy, Sustainability and Health Institute (E2SHI), and the development of a research institute focused on big data. He is presently working with the University’s deans and directors, its board of trustees and more than 100 faculty thought leaders to launch a set of transformative multi-disciplinary projects that will seek to tackle our understanding of some of society’s most vexing issues, that range from individualized health, to the science of learning to the many issues confronting our urban centers. These initiatives will command at least 20% of the total funding priorities of the university’s campaign and will encourage investments in endowed professorships, graduate scholarships, and research support. At the core of these initiatives will be a cadre of outstanding faculty who will hold endowed chairs and be appointed to two or more of the university’s disciplines.

Individual Excellence

Under Daniels’ leadership, the university has continued to hold a steadfast commitment to ensuring broad access to higher education. Daniels has invested heavily in undergraduate financial aid, increasing the undergraduate financial aid budget by roughly 10% each year since 2010. These steps were complemented by efforts taken across Johns Hopkins’ eight schools.

To support our undergraduate education experience, Daniels has launched the Gateway Science Initiative, designed to transform the traditional core undergraduate science curriculum. This redesign of our gateway courses will be further bolstered by a new home in the new Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory, a $62 million facility housing state of the art laboratories for chemistry, biology, biophysics, and neuroscience which will open in 2014.

Daniels has made it a priority for Johns Hopkins to reclaim its birthright as America’s first research university. He has committed millions of dollars in funds to graduate stipend supplements for doctoral candidates in Arts and Sciences. In 2010, Johns Hopkins established the first university-wide board to advocate for and support PhD programs across the university. Its earliest contributions have included a statement of rights and responsibilities for PhD students, a database on graduate performance, a policy on electronic dissertations, a symposium on the Future of Graduate Education, and a multi-million dollar innovation fund for pilot projects aimed at inspiring innovation around graduate education.

Daniels has worked to ensure a welcoming and supportive environment for faculty and staff. The University has launched a number of initiatives in this area, among them mentoring principles for early and mid-career faculty, a university-wide database to provide data and analysis on the state of our faculty, and surveys of faculty and staff to better measure their needs and areas of improvement. He has worked closely with various advisory groups to launch a new exhibit on the “Indispensable Role of Blacks at Johns Hopkins,” another to launch an initiative to provide support for LGBT students, faculty and staff, and another to establish a policy framework and direction to increase participation by local residents, businesses and minority and women-owned businesses in hiring, purchasing and contracting at Hopkins, enhancing our diversity efforts while supporting our surrounding communities.

Our Commitment to Our Communities

Daniels has underscored that Johns Hopkins is “truly and proudly of Baltimore,” a fact that is reflected in the University’s active and open engagement under his leadership. Daniels has launched the Johns Hopkins Takes Time for Schools initiative that gives employees paid time off to work in the city’s public schools, and championed the new Community Impact Internships, which match 50 undergraduates with agencies and nonprofit organizations doing good work across Baltimore.

Daniels has also been personally involved in the bold and ambitious $1.8 billion neighborhood revitalization plan of the East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI), the largest urban renewal project in the nation. This enterprise includes the Elmer A. Henderson School (Henderson-Hopkins), a school opened and operated by Hopkins faculty that is the first new school in East Baltimore in approximately 25 years; a new 572-bed graduate student housing that was completed on time and under budget; and construction of a 1,500 car parking garage and $160 million Maryland Public Lab building that will bring hundreds of new permanent jobs to EBDI. Plans are underway to develop a hotel, park and other amenities to support this community.

Daniels has also embarked upon an ambitious plan, developed in consultation with approximately 200 stakeholders, to revitalize ten neighborhoods and a commercial district around the Homewood Campus, including Charles Village and the corridor between Penn Station and Homewood. Through this initiative, Johns Hopkins will, among other things, redevelop the St. Paul and 33rd Streets lot as an anchor property with dynamic first floor retail for Charles Village.

Daniels has also sought to strengthen the connections between Hopkins and communities throughout the world. His early global initiatives include the creation of Global Health Awards, which send undergraduate and graduate students to pursue public health experiences across the developing world, and facilitating the establishment of the Benjamin and Rhea Yeung Center for Collaborative China Studies to foster interdisciplinary research in China.

Personal Background

A law and economics scholar, Daniels holds an appointment as professor in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins. Daniels’ research focuses on the intersections of law, economics, development and public policy, in such areas as corporate and securities law, social and economic regulation and the role of law and legal institutions in promoting third world development. He is an author or editor of seven books, including Rule of Law Reform and Development (2008), on the role of legal institutions in the economies of third world countries, and Rethinking the Welfare State (2005), an analysis of global social welfare policies, especially the effectiveness of government vouchers (both co-authored with Michael Trebilcock). He is also the author or co-author of dozens of scholarly articles.

Daniels currently sits on the boards of the East Baltimore Development Inc., the Baltimore Community Foundation, the Goldseker Foundation, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the Governor's International Advisory Council, and the Asia Pacific Rim Universities World Institute. He is also engaged in the Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Transformation at Johns Hopkins.

Daniels earned an LLM from Yale University in 1988 and a JD in 1986 from the University of Toronto, where he served as co-editor-in-chief of the law review and earned several academic honors. He received a BA from the University of Toronto in 1982, with high distinction as a political science and economics major. He has been visiting professor and Coca-Cola World Fellow at Yale Law School and John M. Olin Visiting Fellow at Cornell Law School. In 2009, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Daniels was previously provost and professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania and dean and James M. Tory Professor of Law at the University of Toronto.

Daniels was born in Toronto, Canada. He and his wife, Joanne Rosen, a human rights lawyer, have four children.