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Lincoln GordonArchitect of Cold War Foreign Policy$
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Bruce L.R. Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813156552

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813156552.001.0001

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Johns Hopkins President

Johns Hopkins President

(p.300) 16 Johns Hopkins President
Lincoln Gordon

Bruce L. R. Smith

University Press of Kentucky

Gordon is exhausted by the pressures he has endured since 1960 and is worried that Vietnam has begun to sap the Johnson administration’s energy and shift the policy focus away from Latin America. He hopes for a way out but he feels trapped by his situation. Suddenly, to his surprise, he receives an offer to become president of Johns Hopkins University. This seems to offer him, like his Hopkins predecessor Milton Eisenhower, the opportunity to be both in the academic world and active as a Washington policy adviser, and he puts aside doubts that he is cut out for the role of a university president. President Johnson allows Gordon to depart and hails him as an idealist but also a realist. The transition to the Hopkins presidency goes smoothly at first, and a grand investiture ceremony takes place in February 1968, attended by forty college and university presidents. This is the end of the old era in university governance, as both the financial situation and the internal governance context at Johns Hopkins rapidly deteriorate. Gordon is caught in a situation of expanding the central administration and shrinking the size of the faculty, and a faculty rebellion begins in the ranks, abetted by opponents within his administrative staff. Unlike at the embassy in Brazil and the assistant secretary’s post in Washington, here he has no readymade administrative hierarchy to assist his efforts. The consensus in American foreign policy to which he was accustomed lies in wreckage, and the old comfortable atmosphere of learning has given way to conflict and tensions. Gordon’s own weaknesses as a politician and chief executive come into play.

Keywords:   Johns Hopkins University, American Foreign Policy, Cold War

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