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Retired Sen. Barbara Mikulski to Join University Faculty

Congress’ longest-serving woman also donates her papers to Johns Hopkins

Barbara A. Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress and Maryland’s longest-tenured U.S. senator, will join the Johns Hopkins University on Jan. 16 as a professor of public policy and presidential adviser.

Then-senator Barbara Mikulski visiting the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory for the New Horizons mission Pluto flyby in 2015. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Then-senator Barbara Mikulski visiting the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory for the New Horizons mission Pluto flyby in 2015. (NASA photo/Bill Ingalls)

Mikulski, who retired from the Senate earlier this month after completing her fifth six-year term, will participate in lectures, seminars and symposia across the university. She will organize gatherings featuring nationally known policymakers and other leaders.

Though she will work with students and faculty members throughout Johns Hopkins, Mikulski will be based in the Political Science Department and serve as a Homewood Professor, a title reserved for individuals of international distinction and major accomplishment in their fields. As presidential adviser, she will consult with leaders of the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine on public policy and other issues.

“We are delighted to bring Sen. Mikulski into the Johns Hopkins family as she has been a trailblazer for women and one of the most distinguished public servants in Maryland’s – and indeed, our nation’s – history,” said Ronald J. Daniels, president of the university. “With longstanding ties to Johns Hopkins from her earliest days of service in Baltimore, Sen. Mikulski will share her experience and perspective with all those invested in understanding and addressing the most significant issues of our time.”

The former senator has also agreed to donate her congressional papers and records to the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins, where they will be catalogued and made available to scholars.

Barbara Mikulski speaking at the 2008 Martin Luther King Commemoration at the East Baltimore campus. (Johns Hopkins Medicine photo)

Barbara Mikulski speaking at the 2008 Martin Luther King Commemoration at the East Baltimore campus. (Johns Hopkins Medicine photo)

“I’m proud to join the Johns Hopkins faculty and to share my expertise and experience in public policy,” Mikulski said. “I am excited to teach and encourage the next generation and to assist the leadership of this internationally recognized university.

“Being at Johns Hopkins,” she added, “enables me to continue to play a role locally in shaping Baltimore’s future while promoting a national agenda of innovation, leadership and service.”

Mikulski, 80, was elected to the Senate in 1986 after five terms in the House of Representatives and service on the Baltimore City Council. The lifelong Baltimorean and former social worker, who first gained prominence in a successful fight to block a highway project from cleaving long-established Baltimore neighborhoods, rose to serve as chair and then as ranking member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Mikulski, a Democrat, focused on issues including civil rights, national security, space exploration, education, jobs, research and innovation, women’s health, cybersecurity, seniors and veterans. She was primary sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, addressing salary discrimination against women; it was the first bill signed into law in 2009 by President Obama, just days after his first inauguration. Obama later awarded Mikulski the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Tenacious in pursuit of her policy goals and on Maryland-related issues such as the Chesapeake Bay, research and innovation, and funding for the National Institutes of Health and NASA, Mikulski was also acknowledged as a champion for and mentor of women in the Senate from both major parties.

Mikulski’s gift of her papers to Johns Hopkins will make them available to researchers alongside documents from the careers of two other prominent Marylanders who also served in the House and as Senate committee chairs, Democrat Paul Sarbanes and Republican Charles “Mac” Mathias.

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