On January 1, 1946, the Johns Hopkins University established a full time office of public relations, staffed by a secretary, a student assistant, and the director, Lynn Poole. Poole was to serve as the Director of Public Relations until 1965, a tenure of nearly twenty years. He began with a broad approach to public relations which emphasized his long-range goals for this office. After his first eighteen months on the job Lynn Poole filed a report enunciating a clear, coherent philosophy of public relations for the university. In his report of August 23, 1947, and ten years later in a similar report, Poole not only explained his approach to public relations, but he laid down practical guidelines that would put his philosophy into action.
As conceived by Poole the purpose of public relations was to inform the public of activities at the university, to make known scholarly productions and achievements, to further specific goals of the university, and in all these endeavors to reflect credit on the university. Poole anticipated that effective public relations would bring such tangible results as the securing of qualified students, cultivation of alumni, the gathering of funds, and aid in the placement of graduates. According to Poole, the building of prestige, the strengthening of internal morale and the creation of public understanding for the aims, problems, and needs of education would be some of the less tangible but nonetheless important results of his work. In his reports Poole detailed the many techniques available to public relations for the above-mentioned purposes. He enlarged on the many aspects of the print and broadcast media that could be utilized by his office, highlighting the most important areas. He paid a great deal of attention to all school publications, including brochures and catalogs, believing that they must constantly be updated in both style and format if they were to remain effective. Poole stressed the need to publicize properly all lectures, special events and student activities in the local community as well as on campus. In these activities the director served as a liaison between the various media representatives and all branches of the university. Poole felt that it was an essential part of his job to maintain personal contact with the many people and institutions involved with public relations at the university. Under Lynn Poole the Director's office became the center where all public relations activities were coordinated with the philosophy and policy of the university.
From 1948-1955 one of the most visible and successful collaborations between the public relations office and other university offices and departments resulted in a weekly television program, The Johns Hopkins Science Review. This program reached more people each week than any printed news item within the same period. Poole was directly involved in the pioneering of television as an educational medium during the 1950s. Greatly intrigued by the potential he saw in this area, Lynn Poole devoted much time and energy to this new and exciting field. Science Review was informative and highly respected; it twice received the George Foster Peabody Award for Education. By 1952 the show was telecast from coast to coast in twenty-one cities over the DuMont network; it was also the first American network program to be shown in England, France and Canada. With all the acclaim his television projects received, Poole never ceased in his efforts to broaden the scope of public relations in all areas. His public relations activities were always in line with the university's image and policies. The dignity of the university was always the primary concern of the public relations office. Poole consistently upheld high standards and refused to present the university as a product that could be sold to the public.
In October 1965 Lynn Poole was appointed assistant to the president at Hopkins to work on special projects. At this time James C. Butler was appointed Director of Institutional Public Relations, a new office combining public relations for all the Johns Hopkins institutions. Butler had previously been the assistant director of public relations at Homewood and Director of Public Relations for the Medical Institutions. Four years later, public relations for the university and the medical institutions was again separated into two distinct offices. In 1969 Robert F. Hewes, a graduate of Columbia University's School of Journalism, was appointed Director of the Office of Public Information. Hewes was eminently qualified, having served as assistant director of Columbia's Office of Public Information and as Director of Public Relations at Millersville State College in Pennsylvania. In his capacity as director at Hopkins he was to assume responsibility for public relations activities at all divisions of the university. In 1982 Joan Hartman became Director of the Office of Public Relations; she was succeeded in 1983 by Susan Hartt. The records of this office indicate that subsequent directors made few changes in the approach to public relations started by Lynn Poole. There have, of course, been modifications that reflect the growth of the university as well as the changing times. However, the direction and quality of public relations as instituted by Poole remain much the same at the Johns Hopkins University today.