Endowed scholarship celebrates a family legacy at Johns Hopkins

Seymour Baron and his granddaughter—Jennifer, a member of JHU's Class of 2019—graduated with engineering degrees 75 years apart

Seymour Baron and Jennifer Baron

Image caption: Seymour Baron and Jennifer Baron at Johns Hopkins University's 2019 Commencement ceremony.

Credit: Howard Korn / Homewood Photography

The moment that Jennifer F. Baron crossed the stage to accept her diploma last month represented more than just the culmination of four years of hard work: it also continued a legacy started by her grandfather 75 years ago.

Seymour Baron graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1944, emerging with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a desire to use his education and skills to make the world a better place in the wake of World War II. Jennifer—who graduated in May with a BA in computer science and minors in entrepreneurship and management, as well as accounting and financial management—says that the fact that her beloved grandfather graduated from Johns Hopkins influenced her decision to become a Blue Jay, too.

"I really value the fact that Hopkins helped my grandpa become who he is today," she says. "Without Hopkins, my grandfather would have never been able to become a chemical engineer."

Her grandfather's journey to Johns Hopkins began in 1939, when his family of garment designers relocated from New York City to Maryland for better opportunities. The industry wasn't profitable at the time and the family was struggling to make ends meet.

When the time came to go to college, he applied for a Senatorial Scholarship. At first, he was awarded partial funding and wasn't sure if he would attend. But a full scholarship came through later, enabling him to attend Johns Hopkins. He calls that scholarship "life-changing." The youngest of three, Baron was the first member of his family to go to college. He chose Hopkins because of his interest in science.

Seymour Baron hugs his granddaughter with a

Image credit: Howard Korn / Homewood Photography

"It was that scholarship to Johns Hopkins which really made my whole world beautiful and successful," said Baron, who also earned a master's degree at Hopkins in 1947, and later a doctorate from Columbia University. "It afforded me personal and professional experiences that are priceless."

Baron led a distinguished career in industry, government, and research. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Nuclear Society. He is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and served on the Three Mile Island Review Committee.

Students outside the arena
Commencement 2019
Complete coverage

Photos, videos, speakers' remarks, and much more

Because that initial scholarship so many years ago had such a positive impact on Baron and (indirectly) his granddaughter Jennifer, the two are joining with their family to create the Seymour and Jennifer Baron Scholarship, an endowment that will support students with financial need who enroll in the Whiting School of Engineering. It is the first scholarship to be named in honor of alumni who are grandfather and granddaughter.

This summer Jennifer Baron is spending time with her grandfather in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is enjoying retirement. In the fall, she will begin a new job at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York as a technology consultant for financial services in cloud computing and networking.