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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 children.

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