2023 NASPA Annual Conference

Baltimore: An intricate fabric of neighborhoods.

I am a proud Baltimorean. I didn’t grow up here, but Baltimore is my home. We are an eclectic city, a city with 9 different institutions of higher learning within city limits (6 more within the greater Baltimore region), a world class hospital, sports teams that we love, and love to hate, we are a complicated city, a historical city, a foodie city, a city with people who have stories, and a neighborhood for everyone.

During the Annual Conference, our home base will be the Baltimore Convention Center, which happens to be blocks from my home and my workplace at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Although I love my neighborhood, I urge you to explore beyond a few blocks from the convention center, inner harbor, and hotels. The conference planning committee wants to highlight what makes Baltimore, Baltimore; our neighborhoods.

With over 200+ neighborhoods, these places have heart, have history, and make up the fabric of the “Greatest City in America”. During the opening reception, you will get a taste of several of the geographical regions through the various corridors of the convention center. Check out the Spotlighting our Host City blog post written by a member of our opening reception group. Those who choose to participate in the pre-conference campus tours will be able to travel throughout Baltimore and visit campuses in several unique neighborhoods.  A few highlights by geographical region:

Northeast Baltimore has over 40 unique neighborhoods, lake Montebello, and one of Baltimore’s two HBCU’s, Morgan State University. You will also find the former site of  Memorial Stadium where the world champion Baltimore Colts used to play. For our purposes, we use Interstate 83 to divide east and west.

Northwest Baltimore is home to Pimlico Racetrack, the second oldest race track in the nation and host to the second leg of the Triple Crown, The Preakness Stakes. Druid Hill Park sits in northwest Baltimore and is home to the Baltimore Zoo and the Rawlings Conservatory. Our world-class arts institution, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is also located west of 83 in the neighborhood of Bolton Hill.

West Baltimore is the home to HBCU, Coppin State University, the main campus of Baltimore City Community College and several historic neighborhoods including Sandtown-Winchester, Poppleton, and Penn-North. For literary lovers, Edgar Allan Poe’s home is hidden in a thriving residential community that’s near University of Maryland’s Biotech Campus.

Rich in history, South Baltimore is home to dozens of neighborhoods. You will find Fort McHenry, where the Battle of Baltimore was fought during the War of 1812 and where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. It is also home to Federal Hill, where Union soldiers erected a small fort to protect Baltimore from the Confederacy during the Civil War. Babe Ruth’s birthplace is in Ridgely’s Delight, a small neighborhood near the convention center. If you head east beyond the harbor you will find neighborhoods including Little Italy and Fell’s Point.

East Baltimore is home to the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Medical Campus. You will find eclectic neighborhoods including Canton, Butcher’s Hill, Greektown, and Bayview. On a beautiful day, check out Patterson Park, which has earned the affectionate nickname of “Best Backyard in Baltimore”. Visit the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum or visit Greenmount Cemetery one of the oldest garden cemeteries in the US dating back to 1839 when it was officially dedicated.  Johns Hopkins, John Wilkes Booth, and even Napoleon’s sister-in-law are all buried in Greenmount Cemetery.  

Baltimore’s rich history is everywhere. Our neighborhoods are pockets of uniqueness that make up this great city. See for yourself. Come a few days before the conference. Venture for dinner in a different part of town. Join our campus tour session on Sunday, March 20 and travel through Baltimore visiting several campuses and experience what make them “B-more”. The NASPA Annual Conference brings the chance to showcase this great city to colleagues from across the country. While you are here, I hope you eat to your hearts content at local restaurants, take in the history of our city, and see yourself in this city. Lots of universities means lots of opportunities for amazing student affairs professionals!