From the Editor's Desk
GW, Then and Now
Nearly two decades have passed since Stephen
Joel Trachtenberg became the 15th president of
The George Washington University. In that time,
the institution has transformed. And so has the
nature of leading a university.
In 1988, the world rotated on telephone correspondence,
letters, and the still-new technology of fax machines.
In 1988, there was no Internet. Computers were
not yet commonplace. Students did not IM, podcast,
text message, and consult “Facebook.”
Indeed there also was no GW Magazine.
Before 1988, there had been the Vietnam protests
and the tragedy at Kent State. But there had been
no September 11th. No D.C.-area sniper. No catastrophe
at Virginia Tech.
In the course of events global and local, President
Trachtenberg has seen the University through some
pivotal moments. An organization receives inspiration
and guidance from its leader, and President Trachtenberg
has always set the appropriate tone for the University
community, much as a good parent does for his
In addition, Trachtenberg understood early in
his presidency that he needed to find a new way
to accomplish the goals of the University. A traditional
scholar in many respects, he also recognized that
much fruit could be born from bringing an entrepreneurial
spirit to the academic world.
During Trachtenberg’s presidency, academic
programs at GW flourished in number and stature.
The size of the of full-time faculty increased.
The number of endowed chairs for faculty members
grew to 70 from 30. Academic excellence among
students has skyrocketed to the point where GW
now admits just 36 percent of the some 20,000
applicants, down from 78 percent of 6,389 applicants
in 1988. To complement this rise in prestige and
reputation, the University opened several new
academic and residential buildings.
Steve Trachtenberg was the right man at the right
time, and we celebrate him in this special edition
of GW Magazine.
As President Trachtenberg transitions to University
Professor of Public Service and President Emeritus,
he should be proud of what he has accomplished
for GW. He has led admirably, enhanced many lives,
and pushed this University to the next level
We will miss President Trachtenberg, and we thank
him for his many contributions. At the same time,
we look forward to beginning the next chapter
in the GW history book with incoming president
Dr. Steven Knapp, provost and senior vice-president
of The Johns Hopkins University. We are confident
that he, too, will be the right man at the right
time for GW.
Heather O. Milke, MBA ’02