May 17, 2017

Founder’s Day: Columbia 50

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Horizon Foundation staff participated in “Founder’s Day: A celebration of the vision, leadership and legacy of James Rouse” at Howard Community College (HCC). The event was presented by the Columbia 50th Birthday Celebration and HCC.


“The vision for Columbia was to create a ‘better city,’ and James Rouse established the foundation for that ‘better city,’ but the success of Columbia is up to the people living and working in Columbia today,” explained organizer Barbara Kellner, Director of the Columbia Archives. “Founder’s Day gives everyone a chance to explore the possibilities with other community leaders.”

Biographer Josh Olsen, author of “Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse,” served as a moderator, and Harvard Professor of Urban Planning Ann Forsyth was the keynote speaker.  Her topic was “Health and Well-Being in Columbia: Early Aims and Future Potential.”


Following Forsyth’s presentation, she moderated a roundtable discussion featuring Ian Kennedy, Executive Director of the Downtown Columbia Arts and culture Commission; Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President & CEO of The Horizon Foundation; Heather Kirk-Davidoff, Enabling Minister, Kittamaqundi Community Church; and former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, President of Margrave Strategies.

“We need to bring the elements of health and design back together. We need to focus on mental health,” said Vernick. “Equity and inclusion, the diversity of this community should be reflected in our work in order to improve health outcomes.”