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Juniata's Commencement Features Johns Hopkins Dean as Speaker

(Posted April 28, 2008)

Michael Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will speak at Juniata's commencement. He is a 1974 graduate of Juniata.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Michael Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and a graduate of Juniata College, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and deliver the commencement address at Juniata's 130th Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 10 on the Juniata campus.

Klag will give the concluding address of an academic year that has been momentous for the college. The college kicked off its capital campaign to restore and renovate Founders Hall, the college's first building. Construction started on the project in March. In addition, the college also renovated its main classroom building, Good Hall.

In addition, Eileen Sill, a native of Altoona, Pa. and retired executive with RDS Insurance Agency Inc. in Yardley, Pa., will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the commencement ceremony.

Dr. Klag is an internationally known expert on the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular and kidney disease and has served as the dean of the Bloomberg School since 2005. He has been a faculty member at Johns Hopkins since 1987.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Juniata in 1974 and earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978.

He completed his residency and chief residency in internal medicine at the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center. After his residencies, he served in the U.S. Public Health Service. He came to Johns Hopkins in 1984 as a fellow in general internal medicine and earned a master's degree in public health in 1987 from the school he now leads.

At Johns Hopkins, he was named the David M. Levine Professor of Medicine in the university's School of Medicine and held joint appointments in the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology and Department of Health Policy and Management. In 2001, he was named vice dean for clinical investigation, where he restructured the university's policies and procedures overseeing research involving human volunteers.

From 1996 to 2001, he was associate director for general medicine at the Johns Hopkins medical school and also worked as director of the General Internal Medicine Division from 1996 to 2002.

He received the Champion of Public Health Award in 2004 from the Tulane (University) School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He also received the David M. Levine Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2003 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Klag's personal research interests center on the prevention, epidemiology and treatment of hypertension and kidney disease. Starting in 1988, he also directed the John Hopkins Precursors Study, a long-term study of Johns Hopkins medical students that began in 1946 and continues today. The study has contributed to an understanding of how characteristics in young adulthood influence health and disease later in life.

He also has investigated pioneering research in kidney disease, including the first study to assess the incidence of end-stage renal disease and to identify blood pressure as a risk factor for the development of kidney disease.

Klag is a founding member and was interim director of the university's Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. His research has been published in more than 120 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and he served as editor-in-chief of the "Johns Hopkins Family Health Book."

He is a member of numerous professional societies, including the Association of Schools of Public Health, the American Society of Nephrology, the American College of Physicians and the Society for Epidemiological Research. He also was assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America, Troop 124 from 1998 to 2004.

Klag has three children: Julia Klag, of Philadelphia, Pa.; and Stephen Klag and Sarah Klag, both of whom live with their father in Baltimore.

Eileen Sill, a 1957 Juniata graduate, and her husband, Bob Sill, who graduated from Juniata in 1959, have been active supporters of Juniata's educational mission for decades. Eileen Sill was appointed to the college's board of trustees in 1999 and continues to serve on the board. The Sills have been significant donors to Juniata. Their gift of $500,000 helped establish the college's Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Bob and Eileen Sill Business Incubator. The Sills also contributed $500,000 to the construction of the William J. von Liebig Center for Science. The college's boardroom is named in honor of the couple.

She taught English at Pennsbury Senior High School in Pennsbury, Pa. from 1963 to 1983. In 1983 she became secretary-treasurer of the Sill's State Farm insurance agency in Yardley, Pa.

She has remained an active volunteer at the college, participating in the college's alumni council and the Philadelphia Area Alumni Association. She has been named to the Planning Committee for the Sports Center Campaign and the Campaign for the Sciences. She also is a past member of the Trustees Development Council. She also served as a member of Juniata's presidential search committee in 1986.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.