The university’s first and oldest service initiative was The Tutorial Project, which was founded in the early 1950s. This student-operated organization pairs underprivileged children from the surrounding neighborhoods with tutors for one-on-one instruction in reading and math.
In this Tutorial Project evaluation, one tutor, John, describes how he “signed up for the tutoring program because he wanted to do something concrete about the dilemma of urban education.” Many tutors shared John’s motivation and by the 1970s, The Tutorial Project was operated by eight student organizers and 85 tutor-tutee pairs. The organization is still thriving today, and elementary school students come to Levering Hall every day to be tutored by Hopkins students.
Encouraged by the growing tutor-tutee population, The Tutorial Project requested additional funding from the City Council to expand the program to 600 tutors. However, their proposal was met with resistance. In this article, Dr. Wickwire, the University’s Chaplain at the time and founder of the Tutorial Project is accused of being a “pinko,” a slang term for a communist sympathizer. With the US in the midst of the Cold War, these political tensions contributed to the Council’s decision refuse $80,000 of additional funding for the Tutorial Project according to this article published in The Baltimore Afro-American. Today, the majority of funds come directly from the University and only Hopkins students are invited to become tutors.