Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 23, 2024

Hopkins opens new center at 555 Penn in D.C.

By BOB DONG | September 20, 2023

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COURTESY OF HARVEY MCGUINNESS

The Bloomberg Center is home to newly built classrooms, study spaces and lounges for SAIS students and other Hopkins affiliates in the heart of D.C.

Last month, faculty, staff and students moved into the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Center at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue (the Hopkins Bloomberg Center) in D.C., which will serve as the new home of the University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The 10-story steel and glass building features 38 classrooms, multi-purpose study lounges, a public art gallery and a 375-seat theater.

In a broadcast email, President Ronald J. Daniels expressed his excitement about the new center at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue and expounded on its functionality.

“We will host distinguished scholars and global leaders, hold convenings and workshops and mount performances by the Peabody Institute,” he wrote. “If you haven’t visited yet, I hope that you will take advantage of the many opportunities to do so.”

For students intending to take on civic studies, the Hopkins Bloomberg Center provides ample spaces conducive to academic pursuits. In an interview with The News-Letter, Harvey McGuinness, a first-year graduate student at SAIS who also attended Hopkins for undergraduate studies, commented on the convenient studying environment and the versatility of the new building.

“It's by far the best building I've ever been in when it comes to studying. Every corridor in a hallway has tables and benches and things like that available for students to just sit down and do work in a comfortable setting,” he said. 

Moreover, McGuinness shared his enthusiasm about meeting fellow students at various points in their professional careers.

“Some of them are fresh out of undergrad, while others have 30-plus yearlong careers in the military service,” he said. “Being in a room with them all chatting about extracurricular and career development was just a fun experience all around.”

The new building also acts as a space for the University to host world-renowned speakers and events. U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivered the inaugural speech in the main auditorium on Sept. 13. Blinken spoke as a part of the Brzezinski Lecture Series, named after Zbigniew Brzezinski, a longtime professor of foreign policy at Hopkins and a national security advisor to Former President Jimmy Carter.

James B. Steinberg, the dean of SAIS, expressed that it was an honor to have Blinken as the inaugural speaker of the Hopkins Bloomberg Center in an introduction before the speech.

“It's especially fitting that our first speaker here will be the U.S. Secretary of State. From our beginning, SAIS has been committed to close ties between the world of ideas and the world of action, a vision that inspired our founders, Paul Nitze and Christian Herter, and continues to inspire us today,” he said.

Assistant Vice President for Media Relations and News J.B. Bird explained in an email to The News-Letter that the new center will serve as a focal point where scholars and researchers from across the globe can obtain diverse perspectives.

“Hopkins in D.C. will offer expertise and objectivity to decision-makers and bring evidence-based research to bear on the policymaking process, in service of strengthening global democracy and advancing solutions to humanity’s shared challenges,” he wrote.

For Homewood-based students who are not currently enrolled in a SAIS program, more opportunities will also be available in this upcoming year. The first Hopkins Semester in D.C. (HSDC) in Spring 2024 will have a curriculum incorporating research and cohort-based courses. The curriculum will fall under an umbrella theme of “Policy and International Studies.”

HSDC will provide an optional, experiential learning opportunity for freshmen and sophomores undergraduates at Homewood. Students will be able to participate and achieve HSDC’s learning objectives through design projects, artistic pursuits, research endeavors, commercial ventures, professional internships and community-based initiatives.

According to Bird, more than 1,300 students, including those from the Baltimore campuses who commute for special courses and projects, are expected to be on-site all day. Another 1,200 students will be attending evening classes as well. In addition to academic work, there will be opportunities for students to engage in performances, presentations and convenings at the center.

“Through special events, conferences, meetings with policy leaders and participation in policy-focused research projects, Hopkins students are gaining a premier location in Washington D.C. for deepening their understanding of government, expanding their impact and learning about democracy in action,” he wrote.

Editor’s note, 2023: A previous version of this article incorrectly referenced the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Center at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The News-Letter regrets this error.


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