Baltimore City College, one of the oldest public high schools in the nation, held a ceremony on Oct. 28 to honor the 2016 inductees to the school’s Hall of Fame. The prestigious listing was established in 1957 “to recognize, honor and promote the outstanding contributions of alumni and faculty … for their commitment to City and its ideals and their efforts to improve and evolve our society.”
This year’s six honorees are all distinguished individuals from a variety of fields. William A. Brown, an honoree, summarized the feelings of all inductees when he said, “I was surprised when I received notice of my selection, and I was humbled when I reviewed the accomplishments of my fellow honorees.”
The event had a fun, lighthearted atmosphere. Each inductee was introduced by a current City College student, and soaring depictions of the honorees’ accomplishments were interspersed with musical numbers from the school’s choir and orchestra.
A highlight of the event was when honoree Gary L. Bartz — a Grammy Award winner and composer of more than 40 solo albums — took out his saxophone and dueled solos with members of the orchestra, highlighting the talent of individual students.
Brown was honored for numerous endeavors, such as four special diplomatic missions in which he represented the United States: spending 18 months in Russia to negotiate a facility in which to collect and store weapons of mass destruction; serving as emissary to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); improving infrastructure in Budapest, Hungary; and attempting to negotiate the investment of oil revenue in Nigeria to improve quality of life in that country. Additionally, he was a leader in the development of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington.
John J. Heyn, founder and president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, was honored, as was Dr. Lloyd K. Musselman, an educator who was honored by the Sears-Roebuck Foundation for teaching excellence in 1990 and named a distinguished teacher at Oklahoma City University in 2002.
Dr. Ronald L. Krome was honored posthumously for his numerous accomplishments in the organizations that he served as a leader in the field of emergency medicine. His brother and fellow Hall of Famer, Dr. Sidney Krome, accepted the award on his behalf.
Dr. Robert J. Myerburg was honored for the invaluable research he has done in the medical field. His accolades, according to the school, include publishing “more than 500 publications on stem cell research, cardiac research, cardiac disease, electrophysiology and cardiac education.”
Throughout all of the acceptance speeches, a common theme emerged: how far the city and the school have come. The school began admitting students of all ethnicities following the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.
“Today, I have mixed emotions,” said Bartz. “I graduated in 1958, the second class after desegregation, and it was awful back then — how segregated the city was. And as I look out and see these beautiful faces and different colors, it makes me happy, and I am proud today to be an alumni of Baltimore City College. This scene just shows how far we’ve come, and I’m so proud of you all.”
Myerburg mirrored those sentiments, explaining, “I really like to think that programs like the ones at City set the stage for an evolution of society that guided a broader range of students to go out and do things in the world, and in our nation, by taking a lot of the progress that we made to places that it hadn’t been.”
Honorees also advised current students on how to prepare for the future and live a successful life. “Be sure you follow your passion, no matter what it is, so you can look forward to going to work each day like I did,” said Heyn.
Students were encouraged to listen to all of the wisdom, knowledge and advice offered by teachers and to remain focused on the goals that they wish to accomplish. “If you stay focused, you will be able to overcome any obstacles,” said Brown.
“When I graduated in 1958, I left as a lifelong learner. The educational fellows here at City had prepared me to excel academically and socially,” said Brown. “I know that Baltimore City College is dedicated to providing every student with the academic platform necessary to make meaningful contributions to mankind.”