Policy and Political Veteran Tom Lewis to Retire From Hopkins

    Tom Lewis, vice president for government and community affairs for Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, will retire on June 30 after working for the institution for more than 16 years.

    Lewis’ looming departure was announced jointly Thursday by JHU President Ronald J. Daniels, Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO and Dean of the Medical Faculty Paul B. Rothman, and Johns Hopkins Health System President and Executive Vice President for Johns Hopkins Medicine Kevin Sowers.

    “Combining peerless experience in Maryland government, politics, and community affairs with a passion for our institutions, Tom has advanced our missions of research, education, and service in countless ways, and his friendship and collegiality will be missed,” the Hopkins leaders wrote in a message to their colleagues.

    Tom Lewis
    Tom Lewis. Johns Hopkins photo.

    Lewis came to Johns Hopkins in 2005 as director of State Affairs in a newly consolidated office spanning Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, and he became vice president four years later.

    Before joining Hopkins, Lewis served for 11 years as chief of staff to two speakers of the Maryland House of Delegates, Casper R. Taylor Jr. (D) and Michael E. Busch (D). Before that, he was counsel to both the House Economic Matters and House Environmental Matters committees.

    In their statement, the Hopkins leaders credited Lewis with “helping lawmakers in Annapolis to see the importance of providing state support to capital projects at Johns Hopkins as part of a broader strategy to boost Maryland’s economic development and intellectual capital.” They said he helped Hopkins secure state funding for new clinical buildings in East Baltimore; win funding for the Maryland Advanced Research Computing Center, which vastly increased the capacity for researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland, College Park to undertake big data projects; and partner with Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures to win state support for the Maryland Center for Cell Therapy Manufacturing in East Baltimore.

    This year, Lewis was a major part of the lobbying effort to win full funding for the state’s Sellinger Program, which supports private colleges and universities in Maryland. Hopkins officials also credited him for increasing the visibility of JHU faculty members as expert witnesses testifying before legislative committees in Annapolis, and they said he was an integral part of the public-private partnership that coordinated Baltimore’s COVID-19 response during the pandemic.

    “It is no exaggeration to say that their efforts to put public health information and resources in the hands of our neighbors helped save lives,” the leaders said.

    Lewis is part of a power couple in Maryland politics and government: His wife, Victoria L. Gruber, is executive director of the Department of Legislative Services.

    Jeanne D. Hitchcock, a veteran government affairs practitioner who is currently special advisor to the vice president for Local Government, Community and Corporate Affairs at Hopkins, will fill in for Lewis on an interim basis while a search for a permanent replacement takes place.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.