Aristide J. Collins Jr., vice president, chief of staff and secretary of the university at the George Washington University, will be leaving his role next month to become the executive vice president, chief administrative officer and chief of staff at Strada Education Foundation, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that supports programs, policies and organizations that strengthen connections between post-secondary education and opportunity.
He begins his new role in August.
Collins, who also worked at GW in the late 1990s in Development and Alumni Relations on the Centuries Campaign, returned to the university in 2010. In his current role, he is the liaison between the university leadership and the Board of Trustees and has broad-ranging responsibilities to facilitate and manage presidential and university initiatives and priorities, executive searches, leadership transitions and organizational assessments.
Collins also served from 2014 to 2017 as GW’s vice president for development and alumni relations, providing strategic oversight and leadership of the public phase of the $1 billion Making History campaign, which in 2017 exceeded its fundraising goal one year ahead of schedule and recorded the largest fundraising year in the history of the university.
As someone who has held a wide range of leadership positions during his tenure at GW, Collins said he has been proud to be a part of the university’s growth.
“GW is a part of my DNA,” Collins said. “I am very proud of the faculty, staff, students, alumni and administrators that I have worked with, and am excited about the growth of the institution during my time here.”
Collins mentioned milestones, such as the AAU designation and the growth of academic research, naming of the Milken Institute School of Public Health (after philanthropist Mike Milken, HON ’23), the addition of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and the Textile Museum, selecting impactful commencement speakers, diversity initiatives, presidential searches and the Making History campaign as highlights of his time at the university.
He also led the offices of the Board of Trustees, Government and Community Relations and University Events and Venues. Collins noted that he has had “the great good fortune of working with and leading phenomenal teams during my time at GW.”
Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights, J.D. ’82, thanked Collins for his service.
“Aristide has been a valued and trusted colleague in support of GW and the Board for many years, and I am grateful to him for his service,” said Speights. “He has worn many hats at our university, and he has been instrumental in advancing the university's mission for over a decade. GW and the Board are indebted to him for his leadership and counsel.”
“As I joined the George Washington University and throughout my tenure as president, Aristide was a great partner in the important work of our university,” Wrighton said. “I also appreciate his leadership in ensuring President-elect Granberg successfully transitions into her role as GW's 19th president.”
Last September, Collins was elected by the National Academy of Public Administration to its 2022 class of academy fellows. He also has courtesy faculty appointments in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. He is an active community participant, serving as the GW representative on the board of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; on the faculty of the Association of Governing Boards Institute for Leadership and Governance and member of the Council of Board Professionals; and the boards of directors of the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and as trustee of King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan.
Granberg also added her appreciation for Collins.
“Aristide has been a great partner during my transition period. He helped me better understand the university and meet many members of our community,” Granberg said. “It is clear that Aristide has contributed to growing the university's preeminence, and he leaves us positioned well for our future.”
Although he is excited about his new role at Strada, Collins said he will miss the people who have been his colleagues and friends.
“From my perspective, GW is a family,” he said. “When you think about our students, faculty, alumni and staff that I have formed a connection with at GW, I have met some of the best people of my life. I will always stay connected to this great university.”
There will be a farewell reception for Collins in September.