The John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies has received a $1 million gift from the George and Sadie Hyman Foundation of Washington to establish an endowed professorship in Chinese studies.
The gift is one of the largest received by the school on Massachusetts Avenue NW near Dupont Circle. Dean George R. Packard said a search committee has been formed to help select the first person for the new professorship, which is one of the first in Chinese studies in this country.
The school, founded in 1943, gives master's and doctor's degrees in international relations. It enrolls about 350 students, a third foreigners, including for the first time this year one from the People's Republic of China.
The foundation that made the gift was established in 1955 by George Hyman, a Lithuanian-Jewish immigrant who started a Washington construction company bearing his name and who died in 1959. The Hyman Co. is now the largest construction firm in the area and last year ranked 13th among all building contractors in the United States.
Hyman's wife, Sadie, who died two years ago at age 85, participated in many philanthropic and civic groups, including the American Association for the United Nations, through which she met Francis Wilcox, a former dean of the School for Advanced International Studies.
"She was active in many liberal affairs," said Benjamin T. Rome, Hyman's nephew, board chairman of the construction company and president of the foundation. "She was the one who talked the university into having a Chinese study program [in the mid-1960s] when the Chinese were Communists and it wasn't really safe to talk about friendship with China. Now all that has changed."
Mrs. Hyman contributed $100,000 to the school to begin its Chinese program in 1966. Since then she, Rome or the Hyman Foundation have donated $100,000 a year for program operating expenses, Rome said.
Susan Crowley, the school's public information officer, said Rome delivered the foundation's $1 million check for the new professorship several weeks ago. "He called up and told Dean Wilcox he had something to drop off," Crowley said, " and he just came by with the check for $1 million. Of course, he had told us they would contribute the money beforehand. But he's a very informal man."
The school will hold a reception this evening to celebrate the gift. It will include a chamber music recital by two professors from the Peabody Conservatory, now part of Hopkins in Baltimore, and two of their students who come from China.
Last spring Georgetown University received $500,000 from Taiwan for a Chinese studies program in its School of Foreign Service.
Hopkins official stressed that their Chinese studies program, financed by the Hyman grant, would have no direct ties with either Peking or Taipei, although the focus of scholarly work would probably be on the People's Republic.