The Board of Trustees is the oldest part of the university, having been established by Mr. Hopkins on August 24, 1867, when he filed a certificate of incorporation for “The Johns Hopkins University” and named the first 12 trustees. Read more about the Board’s origins and history on our history page.

As the university’s chief governing body, the Board of Trustees exercises fiduciary responsibility for advancing Johns Hopkins’ mission and goals in a sustainable manner, through wise stewardship of all its resources for the common good and for generations to come. The Board holds a public trust: to guard the university’s integrity, to ensure that it fulfills the purposes for which it was established, and to preserve and augment its physical and financial assets.

The Board carries out its responsibilities by establishing policy, providing leadership on the university’s strategic direction, reviewing progress toward its goals, planning effectively for its future, guaranteeing its fiscal soundness, determining the long-range allocation of its resources, providing general oversight of its management, advocating for it, and offering substantial financial support as well as leadership in the identification and development of philanthropic contributors.

The trustees delegate responsibility for the day-to-day management of the university to the administration and, in particular, to the president. For this reason, one of the most important responsibilities of the trustees is the selection, support, and regular evaluation of the president.

The Board is permitted to have up to 35 trustees and several ex officio trustees, including the president of the university, the chair of the Board of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the president and first vice president of the Alumni Association, and all former chairs of the Board of Trustees.

Browse a current list of the incumbent trustees and emeritus trustees.

The Board meets four times a year, usually in October, December, March, and June, with the last being the Annual Meeting. The meetings of many of the Board’s committees are held the day before the full Board meeting.

Read a list of the Board’s 12 committees or learn about the committees’ responsibilities, described in Article XII of the By-Laws.

Our History

On August 24, 1867, 12 men set their hands and seals to a Certificate of Incorporation of “The Johns Hopkins University.”


The Board of Trustees, being entrusted with the final responsibility for the conduct of the affairs of the University, and being vested with full authority to discharge that responsibility as the governing body of the University, hereby adopts and publishes the following by-laws under which the business of the University shall be carried on.

Relationship Between JHU & JHM

Johns Hopkins, the Quaker merchant, banker, and businessman, left $7 million in 1873 to create The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital, instructing his trustees to develop new models and standards for medical education and health care. The Johns Hopkins Hospital opened in 1889, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine opened four years later.

Certificate of Incorporation

Witness our hands and seals set hereto on the twenty-fourth day of August, in the year eighteen hundred and sixty-seven.

View our Trustees View the Committees of the Board of Trustees

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