In This Section      

Archives - Parsimony's Pay-off

Fall 2012

Parsimony's Pay-off

Date: September 1, 2012

Scrupulously frugal: Hamilton (left) and Adkinson.
Scrupulously frugal: Hamilton (left) and Adkinson.

Two faculty have grown a nest egg to support postdoc training.

N. Franklin Adkinson, Jr. ’69 and his longtime colleague Robert Hamilton, PhD ’80, of Hopkins’ Dermatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Reference Laboratory, don’t consider themselves major league philanthropists.

Instead, they’ve just been very careful with the money that their lab—better known by its initials, DACI—has earned over the past three decades. They and their faculty colleagues, technicians, and fellows perform highly specialized allergy testing on blood samples they receive from clients throughout the U.S. and around the globe, all seeking assistance in the diagnosis and management of human allergic disease. Other income has come from special contracts with pharmaceutical companies that want to test the immunogenicity safety of new drugs.

DACI’s leaders also have been scrupulously frugal about how they run their operation. “I’ve tried to be diligent in bare bones expenses over many years,” says Hamilton, the lab’s director, explaining that he often saves money by doing basic research-related chores himself rather than hiring a new technician to handle them. Such parsimony and productivity produced a sizable nest egg, as Hamilton spent 30 years squirreling away any surplus funds “so we could use them for some positive purpose for this division,” he says.

This past spring, they did just that. With $600,000 in painstakingly saved surpluses, they established the Adkinson-Hamilton Educational Endowment in the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Interest from the fund—believed to be the first ever created by two faculty members with a laboratory surplus—will support postdoctoral training programs.

“In the initial years, the interest from the fund is not going to be that much, so it’s going to cover special expenses associated with our fellows program,” such as medical insurance for the fellows and board examination fees, Hamilton says. “Eventually, we may have enough interest from the fund to actually provide a fellowship, so that we pay a stipend to the fellow.  But this will take time.”

 Although Adkinson notes that it was surpluses generated by Hamilton’s efforts that created the endowment fund, Hamilton insisted that it also bear Adkinson’s name.

“Dr. Adkinson and I have worked together for more than 30-odd years,” says Hamilton.  “I’ve always appreciated his sage guidance, and therefore I feel he should be No. 1 on the listing. And because he’s been the director of the allergy and asthma group training program here at Hopkins for so many years, he deserves that position.”

It is hoped that the Adkinson-Hamilton Endowment will become a focal point for future divisional fundraising in support of postdoctoral fellows. While it’s too early to tell if it will, Adkinson says alumni response to the endowment’s creation so far has been “laudatory.” NAG