Board of Trustees Recognizes President Steven Knapp

Dr. Knapp was named president emeritus and university professor of English at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

aristide collins, steven knapp, nelson carbonell
The GW Board of Trustees recognized President Steven Knapp's service to GW and named him on Friday president emeritus and university professor of English. (William Atkins/GW Today)
May 19, 2017

George Washington President Steven Knapp received the Board of Trustees’ “deepest appreciation and gratitude” for his service and dedication to the university during his decade-long tenure and was named Friday as president emeritus and university professor of English, effective Aug. 1.

Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell, B.S. ’85, presented a resolution recognizing Dr. Knapp’s accomplishments, emphasizing his work catalyzing the university’s growth as a world-class research institution; building relationships in D.C. and across the globe; leading the Making History campaign; expanding access, success, diversity and inclusion; enhancing community service; improving sustainability; forging partnerships or collaborations with The Textile Museum, Corcoran and National Gallery of Art; and working closely with students on priorities such as renovations to Gelman Library and the creation of a unified Colonial Health Center.

In his remarks, Dr. Knapp, too, mentioned many of the same achievements and noted he continues to believe the university’s most important contribution is the students who graduate and become citizen-leaders all over the world. Dr. Knapp also said GW students completed 711,841 hours of service this year.

“Without a board committed to a vision for the future of the university, none of these things are possible,” Dr. Knapp said. “I want to thank you for 10 years of really extraordinary support. I think that support is visible in everything we’ve achieved this past decade.”

Also Friday, rising junior Peak Sen Chua addressed the board as the incoming president of the Student Association (SA).

peak sen chua

Peak Sen Chua, incoming SA president, outlined his administration's goals in remarks to the Board of Trustees on Friday. (William Atkins/GW Today)


Mr. Chua said the SA will work during the next academic year to establish student advisory councils in each GW school, collaborate with the Colonial Health Center and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities on various issues, enhance the international student experience, improve transportation affordability and options and assist incoming GW President Thomas LeBlanc in his transition to campus.

“These goals are what we believe will enable the SA to continue supporting student voices across campus,” he said.

Outgoing SA President Erika Feinman said the SA has made strides in the past year in adding resources for mental health, advocating for a fall break, implementing gender-inclusive housing policies and an academic forgiveness policy for first-year students as well as working on affordability and sexual assault prevention efforts.

“This has been an incredible year for the SA,” Feinman said.

With university Commencement just a couple of days away, Sarah Baldassaro, associate vice president for communications, told the board a crowd of about 25,000 people—including graduates, family and friends—is expected to attend the event, which will take place at the foot of the Washington Monument.

sarah baldassaro

Sarah Baldassaro, associate vice president for communications, briefs the Board of Trustees on plans for university Commencement, which will again be held on the National Mall at the foot of the Washington Monument on Sunday. (William Atkins/GW Today)


U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), M.A. ’92, will address graduates and she, Lt. Gen. Nadja West, M.D. ’88, and The Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron will receive honorary degrees. Trachtenberg School’s Angela Sako is this year’s student speaker. (More on Commencement plans here.)

In other board news:

  • The board recognized trustees Grace Speights, who received the Justice Potter Stewart Award; Kyle Farmbry, who was selected as an American Council on Education fellow; and Diana Henriques, whose book “The Wizard of Lies” on Bernie Madoff has been made into an HBO movie and features Ms. Henriques, who plays herself.
  • The board elected Richard Blackburn, Allan From and Mark Shenkman as trustees emeriti and recognized for their service outgoing trustees Wes Burnett, Terry Collins and Art Wong.
  • Venessa Perry introduced herself as the new president of the GW Alumni Association. She replaces outgoing president Jeremy Gosbee.
  • Sylvia Marotta-Walters, professor of counseling and human development, introduced herself as the new chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, replacing outgoing chair and Professor of Engineering Charles Garris, whom the board recognized with a resolution for his “long and distinguished” service to the university.

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