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Howard Covin, Campus Director of Financial Operations, to Retire

Covin, HowardHoward Covin, director of financial operations for the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus, is retiring in January. Howard has provided supervision and leadership of all day-to-day operations for the campus. He has been the liaison with the finance and associate academic deans from all the divisions on campus.

Howard also has built community-related collaborative partnerships between the Montgomery County Campus and local non-profit and business organizations. He is a champion of Johns Hopkins University and Montgomery County, serving on the boards of the Gaithersburg Germantown Chamber of Commerce; Crime Solvers of Montgomery County; Montgomery County Coalition for Adult English Literacy; and interPLAY Company at Strathmore.

Howard, a Boston-area native, is known around campus for his can-do attitude, his heavy Boston accent and his devotion to the Red Sox. Read the Q&A, and then send Howard a retirement message.

Describe the Montgomery County Campus when you started here and compare it to what it is today.

I started working at MCC in early 2004. At that time, five schools offered evening part-time graduate programs, Building 3 construction was close to completion and the campus community was primarily academic-related . In addition, the campus front entrance was “Tara-like,” lined with beautiful trees.

Currently, the campus community includes four schools, 35 private research companies, 42 departments of the National Cancer Institute, community art programs and retail stores. Many corporate, government, academic and community leaders visit every day. The catalyst for the campus success throughout the last 10 years is the vibrant culture of collaboration, which builds trust and sparks creativity that brings out the best for all involved.       

Share with us an anecdote about a funny or unexpected day or moment on the campus.

Every day the campus has funny and unexpected moments so it is difficult for me to highlight one specific moment. However, the journey to help develop and co-host the ‘theatrical event’ to celebrate Campus Executive Director Elaine Amir’s retirement encapsulates the campus atmosphere. Leading up to the event, I was fortunate to talk to most of the 200 attendees and several presenters. The outpouring of emotion reflected results from the collaborative campus culture. Presidents and CEOs, vice chancellors, state senators, vice provosts, Montgomery County officials and so many other appreciative attendees shared wonderful and heart-felt stories about their experiences partnering with people at MCC.

What has been your favorite part of working at the Montgomery County Campus?

That is easy.  Every day I look forward to working with exciting people with different styles and levels of expertise who bring out the best in each other. I learn something new every day from everyone and will miss the people more than I can express. 

What is something people don’t know about the Montgomery County Campus?

I don’t know if people are aware of the vibrant collaborative campus culture. During a difficult financial phase, campus collaboration sparked innovation and answers that were unlikely to emerge in isolation. The campus is a gem with win-win opportunities for all involved to advance together.

Is the real reason you are retiring because the Boston Red Sox won the World Series?

“Be still my foolish heart.” As any Red Sox fan knows, I was waiting for my imminent heart palpitations during the World Series. However, I am thoroughly savoring my ‘lobstah and buttah’ to celebrate the BOSOX victory. I am retiring because life throws you curveballs, and I need some time to learn how to hit a curveball.