The News-Letter would like to congratulate Provost Steven Knapp on becoming the next president of the George Washington University.
The presidency of an academic institution is a role worthy of only the most capable scholar/administrators -- a difficult hybrid to find -- and Knapp is certainly one such person. In his years as provost, he has shown tremendous passion for the mission of the University and been a tireless force for imrovement.
Knapp's appointment is as much an achievement for the University as it is for him. As President Brody noted in his announcement of Knapp's departure, this is the second time in two years a top administrator at Hopkins has been asked by a peer institution to become its president.
It certainly reflects well on our school when our peers show such respect for the individuals responsible for our success
But now the University must find someone to replace Knapp. And, although some obvious candidates might immediately come to mind, the administration should consider not only the people it wants to install, but what statement it wants to make in the process.
Knapp, as very few students probably know, is a distinguished humanist and a scholar of 18th and 19th century English literature. His commentary on literary theory has had substantial influence on the modern academic discipline, and as such has been incorporated into the venerable Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
The administrators who head the search for Knapp's successor should take heed of this legacy, especially because so many of the highest remaining administrators are scientists and doctors by trade. Promoting Hopkins as a leader in the humanities would be a goal well served by installing a No. 2 who has trained in and contributed to one of its fields.
Knapp's appointment is a great accomplishment and we wish him well in his future endeavors. While we bid Knapp farewell we look forward to our own prospects in the hope that our new provost will be as dedicated to the advancement of Johns Hopkins as he had been.