GW Launches Presidential Search

Trustee Roslyn Brock will chair the group tasked with identifying candidates to be the university’s next leader.

professors gate
May 02, 2022

The George Washington University Board of Trustees has formed and launched a presidential search committee charged with conducting a nationwide search for the university’s 19th president, Board Chair Grace Speights, J.D. ’82, announced Thursday.

In a message to the university community, Speights called the responsibility of selecting a president “the single most important decision” the board makes.

“At the dawn of the university’s third century, we are looking for a leader who will reinforce our commitment to academic excellence, enhance our academic reputation and help us achieve our aspirations for preeminence,” she said.

The committee will be composed of 17 members—eight trustees, five faculty members, a trustee emerita, a staff member, the president-elect of the Student Association and the president-elect of the GW Alumni Association. Speights is an ex-officio member of the committee. In the spirit of the recently concluded shared governance initiative, the faculty selected are all either from the Faculty Senate or the Faculty Consultative Committee, Speights said.

Trustee Roslyn Brock, M.S. ’89, will serve as committee chair. Brock is chief global equity officer of Abt Associates and serves as chairperson emeritus of the NAACP Board of Directors. James Tielsch, professor and chair of the Department of Global Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, will serve as vice chair. A full roster of the committee is included below.

The committee will begin its work soon and participate in the selection of a search firm. Because of the extremely competitive market for high-quality presidential candidates, the committee is charged with being innovative and flexible in finding and attracting outstanding talent, Speights said. Search committee members have been asked to join the trustees, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Faculty Consultative Committee at the Board of Trustees retreat this summer to begin discussions on the desired experience and characteristics of the next president.

The search committee will communicate with the university community at key points in the process through a dedicated website. The committee will also seek the perspectives of community members and stakeholders about the university’s aspirations and the leadership qualities needed to realize those aspirations. “It is critical that we gather feedback and insight from the entire GW community during the search process,” Brock said. “We look forward to sharing details in the coming months about opportunities for community engagement.”

The announcement of the search committee comes following the conclusion of the Shared Governance Task Force and the Faculty Senate’s endorsement of the Statement of Shared Governance Principles. Tielsch, the chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and vice chair of the search committee, commented, “The renewed commitment to the process of shared governance by the board, administration, and faculty together with the increasing breadth and quality of our academic programs and research enterprise makes this an exciting time to search for the next leader of GW.”

Speights urged the GW community to share with the committee, through the dedicated website, the names of individuals who should be considered as candidates to serve as the next president. Additional information on engagement opportunities will be shared in the coming months.

The board chair also thanked GW President Mark S. Wrighton for providing the university with time to conduct a thorough search.

“He has consistently stated that his priority is to position GW for the next president and for increased prominence in our third century,” Speights said. “With his leadership, the dedicated service of our presidential search committee and the feedback and engagement of the Faculty Consultative Committee and our entire campus community, we are in a position of strength to recruit the best person to serve as our next leader.”

Members of the presidential search committee:

William Alexander, B.S. ‘04, M.B.A. ‘06, GW Alumni Association president-elect
Christine Barth, B.B.A. ‘88, trustee
Marie Borum, M.P.H. ‘95, D.Ed. ‘03, professor of medicine
Mollie Bowman, B.A. ‘16, M.A. ‘17, trustee
Roslyn M. Brock, M.S. ‘89, trustee, chair of the presidential search committee
Mark H. Chichester, B.B.A. ‘90, J.D. ‘93, trustee
Donna Hill Staton, J.D. ‘82, trustee
Chris Kojm, professor of international affairs
Ali Kolaghassi, B.B.A. ‘90, trustee
Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost for diversity, equity, and community engagement
Pamela Lawrence, B.A. ‘76, trustee of the GW and MFA Boards of Trustees
Grace Speights, J.D. ‘82, chair of the Board of Trustees, ex-officio
Ralph Steinhardt, professor of international law
Lydia Thomas, trustee emerita
James Tielsch, professor and chair of the department of global health, chair of Faculty Senate Executive Committee, vice chair of the presidential search committee
Gayle Wald, professor of American Studies
Christian Zidouemba, Student Association president-elect

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