Our Wonder Wall
Packard/Adams contributions are etched in stone on Hopkins’ Founders’ Wall.
$7 million is the magic number. That’s the original amount that a kindly, visionary Johns Hopkins gave to establish the hospital and university that now bear his name.
And $7 million—somewhat more, actually—is the amount that institution received this past decade for its ALS research center, a result of both the direct efforts and inspiration of another kindly, visionary man, Robert Packard.
Recently, one man’s efforts acknowledged the other’s when Packard’s name was etched into the Johns Hopkins Founders’ Wall on its Baltimore Homewood Campus. It’s an exclusive honor, and a lasting one in tribute to what Packard, his family and friends have made possible.
Those who’ve passed the $7 million contribution mark get the inscription.
Bob Packard was an energetic, insightful investment banker in San Francisco. He was among the first on Wall Street to grasp the potential of the Internet. As head of technology investment for Alex.Brown, he helped tie his firm’s successes to that of Amazon.com, Microsoft and other well-known clients.
“Bob saw possibilities before the rest of us did,” says his friend and colleague, Anne Martin, “and understood how to build something lasting.” That understanding transferred to the major change in ALS research that came with Packard’s efforts. In February of 2000, though slowed by a rapidly progressing form of the disease, Packard led his family, friends and colleagues to create the Robert Packard Foundation.
Along with the Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation, the Packard Foundation provided funds that fostered what today is the Robert S. Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins. Later, in 2008, Packard’s foundation became the William H. Adams Foundation for ALS Research, after the West-coast philanthropist who also suffered from the illness, and who continued the tradition of enabling the search for a cure. Packard and Adams share a line on the Founders’ wall.
This May, Packard’s wife, Bobbie Gates (now remarried), their daughters Lauren and Cassie and a host of Packard Center and Hopkins dignitaries marked the new, much-deserved commemoration in marble.