President LeBlanc Announces Staff Appointments

Names Aristide Collins chief of staff and Betty Freyre director of administration for president’s office.

aristide collins and betty freyre
August 01, 2017

George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc Tuesday announced initial staff appointments for the Office of the President. Aristide Collins will serve as vice president, chief of staff and secretary of the university. Betty Freyre has been named director of administration.

“Aristide and I have worked well together for the last seven months as he coordinated the presidential transition,” said Dr. LeBlanc. “I am delighted that he will continue to work directly with me as my chief of staff. His knowledge of the university and strong relationships, including with our Board of Trustees, will serve me and the entire university well in the coming years.

“Betty and I have worked together for more than nine years, and I am pleased that I was able to recruit her to GW from the University of Miami,” he said.  “Betty is an extremely dedicated and skillful manager with extensive experience coordinating, planning and supporting daily operations of complex and sensitive organizations. Betty makes everything work, and I know she will be a tremendous asset to George Washington as she takes on this new role.”

As chief of staff, Dr. Collins will serve as the primary interface for the president with other university personnel and external constituents. He will work closely with Dr. LeBlanc to oversee execution of university strategic initiatives and operations.

Ms. Freyre will manage and direct the daily operations of the Office of the President, including coordinating scheduling, briefings and travel for Dr. LeBlanc and providing daily supervision of office staff.

Since January, Dr. Collins has served as chair of the Presidential Transition Working Group, coordinating visits of the incoming president and seeking input from and facilitating meetings and forums with students, faculty, staff and alumni, elected officials and other university partners and community members. He also has continued to manage the Office of the Board of Trustees and act as the administrative liaison between the trustees and university leadership, a responsibility he will retain as chief of staff.

He previously also served as vice president for development and alumni relations, overseeing the university’s recently concluded Making History Campaign, which surpassed its $1 billion goal one year ahead of schedule. Dr. Collins led the division to its highest fundraising total ever in 2015 and streamlined central development functions to provide more resources in the university’s schools and colleges.

“It has been a privilege to work with the Board of Trustees, Dr. and Mrs. LeBlanc, and my university colleagues on the presidential transition,” Dr. Collins said. “Continuing to work with the board and President LeBlanc in this broader capacity is a great opportunity.” 

Ms. Freyre has worked with Dr. LeBlanc since 2008 and has reported to him directly since 2011, serving most recently as senior manager of business operations in the University of Miami Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. In this role, Ms. Freyre directed the daily office operations for the provost and vice president of budget and planning, supervised and managed the workflow and activities of the office staff, and functioned as the primary liaison for the provost with other university officials and external constituents.  Ms. Freyre previously served as executive assistant to the executive vice president and provost and as the executive assistant to the vice provost for faculty affairs. 

Prior to joining the University of Miami, Ms. Freyre served in a series of roles in marketing, sales and administration at Sony Electronics, Inc. in Miami. Ms. Freyre earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University and a master’s of business administration from the University of Miami.    

“I was honored to be asked to join Tom LeBlanc at GW. He is a great leader, and I know he will be a great president,” Ms. Freyre said. “The opportunity to join this prestigious university and live in Washington, D.C., was more than I expected at this point in my life, and I am very happy to be here.”

Dr. Collins and Ms. Freyre join Chaka Butler, who continues to serve as director of the F Street House; Jessica Finger, assistant manager of the F Street House; and Kitty Boney, executive aide for the Office of the President.

Dr. LeBlanc is expected to make additional decisions about the staffing of his office after he has the opportunity to evaluate the needs of the office. Dr. Collins and Ms. Freyre will coordinate searches for additional staff positions, which are expected to be initiated over the course of the fall semester. 

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