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Class of 2010 Breaks Record for Academic Achievement | New Potomac House Welcomes Freshmen | Coffee and Conflict Resolution | Kagame Discusses Healthcare | A Credit to the Force | University Welcomes New Trustees | Cancer Institute Honors Donaldson | Dreams in Action for Inner-City Youth | 2006 GW Leadership Retreat | Golf Program Achieves New Level of Success | NBA Picks Up Colonials | Clark Discovery Yields Evolutionary Connection | Fountain Day at GW’s Mount Vernon Campus | Alumna is First Female Space Tourist | Faculty Focus | At A Glance | GW in History | A Faculty for Writing

Class of 2010 Breaks Record for Academic Achievement

Jon Malis

GW’s incoming freshman class—with nearly 2,400 members—sets the highest level of academic achievement to date for the University. The class average SAT score is 1920. They represent the best of the 19,500 applicants GW received for this academic year.

The Class of 2010 excels outside the classroom as well—half of incoming freshmen participated in a varsity sport; 14 percent served as editors-in-chief of their school newspaper, literary magazine, or yearbook; 16 percent participated in debate; and 64 percent participated in community service projects.

Incoming freshmen hail from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and nations all over the world. African American and Latino American students comprise 12 percent of the class, while the number of international students coming to GW this year increased by nearly 20 percent.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is welcoming the students who have chosen to call GW ‘home’ for the next four years,” says GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. “Each student truly is exceptional in his or her own way, and I am always invigorated by their enthusiasm, energy, and ultimately their contributions to our campus community and the city of Washington.”

The class was officially welcomed to the University on Sept. 4 at Freshman Convocation in the Charles E. Smith Athletic Center.

New Potomac House Welcomes Freshman

Potomac House residence hall, which opened in August, offers modern amenities as well
as special services for students interested in arts and culture. Class-centered programming is now offered at several GW residence halls and is designed to enhance students’ courses of study.

Julie Woodford

Though it blends in well with its red-brick neighbors, GW’s new Potomac House residence hall stands out to new students; more than half of this year’s freshman class requested housing in the state-of-the-art complex.

The 10-story, co-ed residence hall opened in August, when 379 freshmen moved in. Most students in Potomac House are living in four-person, single-sex suites of two double rooms with a shared bathroom. The facility’s prime features include a food service venue, cable TV connections in every room, and individual Internet and phone lines for each student. Additionally, there are study and community rooms and laundry and kitchen facilities.

Potomac House also features its own theme—culture and arts—meaning extracurricular activities and advisement are available for students interested in related topics. Residents involved in pursuits including screenwriting, sculpture, and photography benefit from events catered to their interests, such as guest speakers or a group trip to a museum.

This is part of the new GW Housing Programs’ class-centered programming, designed to have students’ living environments enhance their courses of study.

Other residence halls are also hosting themed houses based on curriculum, including: The Science Village—composed of Clark, Hensley, and Merriweather Halls—at GW’s Mount Vernon Campus; the Media and Public Affairs House at Somers Hall; and the Global Perspectives and Diplomacy House at Thurston Hall. Each house has class-specific student staffs, composed of house proctors for first-year students, house scholars for second-year students, and house mentors for third- and fourth-year students.

These new communities will make it easier than ever before for new students to meet friends and explore interests.

—Dan Williams

Coffee and Conflict Resolution
Livingston Explores Recovery and Change in Rwanda

Professor Steven Livingston and international coffee trade expert Kim Easson (right) worked with Tutsi and Hutu farmers in Rwanda to promote peace and trade as Rwanda continues to recover from the 1994 genocide of nearly one million people.

During 100 days in 1994, nearly one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by Hutu extremists in Rwanda, while much of the world stood silently by. Steven Livingston, associate professor of media and public affairs and international affairs, was in the Southern Sudan studying that country’s civil war when the Rwandan genocide began. He tried to enter Rwanda with a group of journalists; though they were turned back, “I saw bodies washing up in Lake Victoria,” says Livingston, who wrote about the crisis and was involved in events marking its 10th anniversary. “I resolved to return to the region with students to focus on how Rwandan society has managed to come to grips with its history.”

Livingston wanted his return to concentrate on more than the sad history of the genocide, which ended when Tutsi rebels, led by Gen. Paul Kagame (now president of Rwanda) overthrew the Hutu government and seized power. Rwanda has taken significant strides since 1994, and Livingston works to continue that progress. “Combining my interest in political conflict with a friend’s interest in Rwanda’s expanding coffee industry, I organized a group trip to examine the role of the specialty coffee industry as a basis for national reconciliation and social harmony.”

Accompanied by Kim Easson, an expert on the international coffee trade, six undergraduates, a reporter, and the owner of a large coffee wholesaling company on the West Coast, Livingston spent the last week of May traveling through Rwanda.

“Kim Easson has a special interest in coffee in Rwanda because coffee pumps much-needed revenue into farming communities decimated by the genocide,” Livingston explains. Livingston and his team worked with the Maraba Coffee Cooperative, a USAID-funded enterprise that brings together Hutu and Tutsi farmers working for a better life. “The Hutus and Tutsis get to know and understand each other by working side by side processing coffee, thus helping to erode the distrust and anger that remains.”

Now in his 16th year at GW, Livingston teaches courses on media, war, and foreign policy. For the past two years, he served as interim director of the School of Media and Public Affairs and director of the political communication program.

Before the students and his colleagues arrived, Livingston conducted a four-day media workshop for 30 Rwandan government officials, covering topics such as international image and the principles of a vibrant free press in a democracy. Part of the State Department’s speaker program, the workshop took place at the Hotel Des-Milles Collines, the real Hotel Rwanda.

—Jamie L. Freedman

Kagame Discusses Healthcare

Provost and Vice President for Health Affairs John F. Williams, left, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Thom Kohout

Rwandan President Paul Kagame spoke on the future of Rwanda and Africa on campus as part of the GW Africa Center for Health and Human Security’s Presidential Lecture Series. Faculty members, students, and current and former members of the international affairs community heard about Rwanda’s ongoing recovery efforts from the 1994 genocide that resulted in nearly one million Tutsi deaths by Hutu extremists.

Kagame also met with GW Medical Center leaders to discuss possible collaborations to help improve Rwanda’s strained healthcare infrastructure, particularly HIV/AIDS treatment.

A Credit to the Force
University Police Department Receives Accreditation

GW’s University Police Department received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, joining the select 1 percent of college and university police departments in the nation to earn the designation.

CALEA also accredits local and federal law enforcement entities. DC’s Metropolitan Police Department and Georgetown University’s Public Safety Department are currently seeking accreditation, and UPD Chief Dolores Stafford and UPD Accreditation Manager Mark Balazik serve as CALEA assessors.

The UPD underwent a rigorous, five-phase process to receive accreditation, beginning with an application four years ago. UPD submitted proofs of compliance for each of the 450 standards set by CALEA, underwent several on-site assessments, and attended a public hearing during which CALEA heard testimony from agency personnel, assessors, staff, and community members.

“I always believed that we were one of the better campus police departments on the East Coast. This gave us the opportunity to prove that it was true,” Stafford says of the application. She now works to make sure the meaning of the achievement is known to the GW community, especially parents.

As an accredited agency, UPD is required to comply with new standards as they are developed, such as training its staff in incident command and emergency preparedness that meets the standards of the National Incident Management System. Operating procedures, personnel practices, equipment, and facilities are all subject to meeting CALEA standards.

UPD officers and staff members are proud of the distinction. “It has helped morale tremendously,” Stafford says. “Our officers feel a sense of pride for being part of the department.” The honor also has supported the department’s recruitment efforts. “Because of the accreditation, we’re getting a good mix of candidates—not only ones coming out of college, but those who already have law enforcement experience and who are interested in campus law enforcement as a career opportunity.” She also notes that more than 60 percent of UPD officers have already earned a college degree.

Stafford credits the positive work environment at GW with her staff’s longevity. Twenty-five percent of her officers have been watching over the University for more than 15 years and 30 percent have been at GW between five and 10 years.

—Maureen Ryan

University Welcomes New Trustees

Five new members joined GW’s Board of Trustees this summer. (From left to right, back row): Steven S. Ross, Board of Trustees Chairman Charles T. Manatt, GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, James F. Humphreys; (from left to right, front row): Robert K. Tanenbaum, Board of Trustees Vice Chair Patricia Gurne, Julia Zoë Beckerman, and Board of Trustees Secretary Lydia Thomas. Not pictured: Cynthia Steele Vance.

Dave Scavone

The GW Board of Trustees elected five new members in June, who assumed responsibilities in July. The board provides governance and counsel on the management, direction, and strategic plan of the University.

The new charter trustees are: James F. Humphreys, JD ’78, president of James F. Humphreys & Associates; Robert K. Tanenbaum, JD ’82, principal, Lerner Enterprises and Washington Nationals ownership group; and Cynthia Steele Vance, MVC ’79, a former news anchor for WTTG-TV/Fox 5 in Washington.

The new alumni trustee is Steven S. Ross, BBA ’81, senior vice president of Ferris Baker Watts. The young alumni trustee is Julia Zoë Beckerman, JD ’05, graduate certificate in health policy ’05, an associate with Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell.

Charter and alumni trustees each serve four-year terms, with a limit of three consecutive terms for charter trustees and two terms for alumni trustees. The young alumni trustee position is limited to one, four-year term.

“We welcome the input of this new strong group of leaders,” says GW Board of Trustees Chairman Charles T. Manatt. “Each trustee plays a vital role in the governance of the University and the future of the institution.”

GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg added, “Our new trustees join The George Washington University at a very exciting and challenging time in our history. The University is fortunate to have informed members of the Board of Trustees who actively participate in helping shape the direction of GW as it builds on past and current successes as a world-class research and teaching institution serving in the nation’s capital.”

Cancer Institute Honors Donaldson

Steven Patierno, executive director of the GW Cancer Institute, presented acclaimed journalist Sam Donaldson with the Spirit of Life Award at the Third Annual GW Cancer Institute Gala this spring. The event honors advocates, leaders, and researchers dedicated to cancer prevention and treatment. Proceeds benefit the institute, an urban oncology center dedicated to understanding and alleviating disparities in cancer treatment. More information about the institute and next year’s gala can be found at

Dreams in Action for Inner-City Youth

GW senior John Muller (left) and Morehouse College senior Justin McNeil, founders of DreamCity Theater Group, which helps members develop business as well as artistic skills.

DreamCity Theater Group

For GW senior John Muller, founding a public theater project in inner-city Washington was a matter of practical idealism. After encountering “arts-related programs that didn’t teach life skills,” Muller tried a different approach. Along with creative expression, young people need “to understand basic tenets of business, such as having a bank account, knowing how to compose a resume, and the process of networking and following up,” Muller says. His company, DreamCity Theater Group—founded with Morehouse College senior Justin McNeil—develops skills not usually addressed by artistic organizations. Students involved with DreamCity learn about staging productions and acquire skills that also empower them offstage.

Muller gained business knowledge at GW, which “places a high premium on organization and structure.” Armed with an understanding of “how policymakers operate and make decisions,” Muller and McNeil created an organization that is as pragmatic in its approach as it is idealistic in its ambition.

Muller and McNeil’s play, The 70, which originated in a GW playwrighting class, previewed this summer at the D.C. Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Ten free performances were shown over three weeks at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, drawing more than 2,300 audience members. Funded, crewed, and performed by members of the public, The 70—which depicts the disparate lives of bus passengers united in their commute through the heart of the city—demonstrates Washington’s diversity in its execution and content.

Muller works to familiarize the GW population with the urban community that surrounds it, and vice versa, saying “education is the key to becoming independent and self-reliant.” Much of his service effort has been devoted to making underprivileged children—for whom he says private colleges are often stigmatized—comfortable in a collegiate environment. In addition to his work with DreamCity and its subsidiary, DreamCity Poets, he also founded GW Mentors, a tutoring and leadership organization that pairs GW students with middle school students enrolled in a local chapter of the national Higher Achievement Program. After graduation, he plans to remain in the District and continue public service.

“For communities where there is hopelessness, art is a transforming power,” Muller says. In its businesslike optimism, DreamCity is primed to make that goal attainable as well as uplifting.

—Ruth Steinhardt

2006 GW Leadership Retreat

President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Board of Trustees members Michele Hagans, MBA ’94, and Nelson Carbonell, BS ’85, meet between breakout sessions at the 2006 GW Leadership Retreat.

Dave Scavone

In June, the University conducted a Leadership Retreat at which President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, members of the Board of Trustees, the GW Alumni Association board, and school advisory councils, as well as vice presidents and deans, gathered for lively discussions about GW’s future. The three-day event was held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Md.

Meetings and breakout sessions addressed topics including the challenges that higher education institutions face to meet the needs of 21st-century students and society. Participants also discussed engaging alumni in the University’s mission and the role of philanthropy in GW’s future success.

Golf Program Achieves New Level of Success

(Left to right) Raman Luthra, Juan Pablo Zuluaga, Dan Mirabella, Andrew Gallo, Brian Carroll, and head coach Scott Allen qualified for the NCAA golf tournament for the first time in 60 years last season.

GW Athletics Communications

Overcoming some of the hindrances associated with building a varsity golf program in a metropolis, coach Scott Allen and the GW golf team produced a landmark season this spring, qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time in 60 years. The Colonials received an at-large bid to the NCAA’s East Regional last May, facing off against some of the nation’s top teams at the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Fla., ultimately finishing 23rd.

Now in his 13th year as coach, Allen says the program was struggling when he took the job. Since then, Allen and his players have worked hard to improve, with successes coming incrementally. Receiving a bid to the NCAAs was the biggest breakthrough so far. “This was a goal a lot of us have had for a long time. It was a special thing for our former players, too, not just the guys on the team now,” Allen said. “It was a culmination of a lot of years of chipping away.”

Leading the way for GW throughout the season was Brian Carroll, BBA ’06, who may be the best golfer in school history, according to Allen. Carroll earned 10 top-10 finishes on the season and received GW’s J. Dallas Shirley Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award. Allen says Dan Mirabella, BBA ’06, and Andrew Gallo, BA ’06, also were a big part of the team’s success.

One of the strategies Allen has used to bolster the program is to turn a natural disadvantage—GW’s distance from any golf course—into a team-building experience. The Colonials commute to courses around the D.C. area in order to practice, and they compete for recruits against many schools that have courses on or near their campuses. Allen has tried to use those trips to foster chemistry, deemphasizing the individual nature of the sport.

“I actually think that can be an advantage for us. We do everything together, including travel to practice,” Allen says. “It makes us a close-knit team.”

The coach describes his strategy as a slow, ladder-climbing process. Each time the Colonials achieve good results, it increases the chances that they’ll be invited to better tournaments. When they’re invited to better tournaments, they can attract a higher level of recruits.

This season, seniors Tim Johnson, Bob Rohr, and Raman Luthra are charged with the task of leading GW to greater heights; the team doesn’t view simply making the NCAA tournament as the end goal. Eventually, Allen wants to see the program emerge as the best in the northeast, with postseason bids becoming par for the course.


NBA Picks Up Colonials

Former Colonials basketball stars Pops Mensah-Bonsu, BA ’06, and Danilo Pinnock took fans along for an amazing ride during their time at GW, and supporters won’t be forgetting them anytime soon. Now the two are pursuing careers in the NBA.

After going undrafted during the summer, the outlook improved for Mensah-Bonsu. The 6’8” London native signed a free-agent contract with the Dallas Mavericks, last year’s NBA Finals runner-up, in August. The contract is guaranteed for one year with a team option for a second. Mensah-Bonsu earned it by impressing the franchise with his efforts in the NBA-sanctioned Las Vegas summer league, where he averaged 8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game at forward.

Pinnock, a 6’5” guard, was drafted by the Mavericks in the second round, but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers shortly thereafter. Pinnock signed a contract with the Lakers in September. Both players were part of GW’s 27-3 team last season that won the Atlantic 10 title with a 16-0 record and made the second round of the NCAA tournament.


Clark Discovery Yields Evolutionary Connection

Professor James Clark led a research team in China that unearthed Yinlong downsi, the oldest known remains of ceratopsian dinosaurs.

In the Xinjiang province in northwestern China, professor James Clark led an excavation team that unearthed a unique and revealing fossil, the oldest known remains of a ceratopsian dinosaur. The remains of this creature—Yinlong downsi—share features with a different type of dinosaur, pachycephalosaur, confirming an evolutionary connection previously theorized.

Yinlong lived during the Late Jurassic period, about 160 million years ago, making it 20 million years older than any other known ceratopsian. Of the later ceratopsians, one of the most recognized is triceratops, which was about the size of a car and had three horns on its face and a large boney frill. Yinlong was much smaller than later ceratopsians—just over four feet full grown—and didn’t have all of the same pronounced characteristics, but does have a triangular-shaped skull and rostral bone, a distinct beak-like bone at the end of its snout.

Clark’s discovery also shares traits with pachycephalosaurs, such as the placement of low knobs on the back of the skull. Dinosaurs of this classification, such as stygimoloch, had dome-shaped skulls with thickened bones and high foreheads. Pachycephalosaurs and ceratopsians are two of the most specialized groups of dinosaurs, and Yinlong is a primitive transitional form with features that span the two groups. “Yinlong provides concrete evidence that the evolutionary relationship is indeed real,” says Clark. “It shows that the common ancestor of the two groups had pachycephalosaur features that were then lost with ceratopsians.”

The actual excavation took place in 2004. Clark worked alongside Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. This year, Clark and Xing, along with two other colleagues, published the discovery in the May 17 online edition of the British science journal Proceedings of the Royal B: Biological Sciences.

Yinlong’s name comes from two unrelated sources. The first half is rooted in popular film. In Chinese, “yin” and “long” mean “hiding” and “dragon,” respectively. The 2000 Taiwanese martial arts flick Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was filmed in the same area where the fossil discovery was made. The second part of the name is a tribute to a deceased colleague, Will Downs, who worked with Clark and Xing on a number of expeditions.

This is one of several breakthroughs for Clark and company during their efforts in China. In earlier work, they unearthed the most complete skeleton of a land-based crocodilian from the Middle Jurassic period, and they also discovered the oldest tyrannosaur, a distant ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex. Clark, Ronald B. Weintraub associate professor of biology, has conducted digs in Xinjiang since 2001.


Fountain Day at GW’s Mount Vernon Campus

Jon Malis

This spring, more than 1,200 students and members of the University community celebrated Fountain Day at GW’s Mount Vernon Campus. The annual event, during which the fountain is turned on in anticipation of summer, is sponsored by students; the tradition began while the campus was known as Mount Vernon College.

Music by Aqualung, Ben Lee, and Augustana set the tone for activities including dancing and tie-dye art.

The Mount Vernon Campus also will host Octoberfest on Oct. 21 during Colonials Weekend.

Alumna is First Female Space Tourist

Anousheh Ansari, MS ’92, became the first woman—and only the fourth person—to become a space tourist. On Sept. 18, Ansari accompanied 14 crew members of the U.S.-Russian Expedition onboard the Souyuz TMA-9 mission to the International Space Station. The launch occurred from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Ansari—an engineer and founder of Prodea Systems, a digital home and multimedia management technologies firm—says she has dreamed of space travel since childhood. The estimated cost of her 10-day trip was $20 million.

The Iranian-born Ansari immigrated to the United States at age 14. In addition to her GW degree in electrical engineering, she now is pursuing a master’s degree in astronomy from Swinburne University in Australia.

Ansari and her family have encouraged space tourism by providing the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. In 2004, the feat was accomplished by aerospace designer Burt Rutan. Ansari also is part of a team working to develop a new
kind of spacecraft to encourage space tourism among the broader public by making it more affordable.