February 9, 2007
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W. RUSSELL RAMSEY ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
WASHINGTON -- The George Washington University's Board of Trustees has elected W. Russell Ramsey, B.B.A. '81, chairman and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management, as its next chairman. Ramsey will serve a three-year term, succeeding the Hon. Charles T. Manatt, J.D. '62, who has served as chairman for the past six years. Ramsey's term as the 23rd chairman begins July 1, 2007.
Ramsey is a successful entrepreneur, having built multi-billion-dollar businesses primarily in the fields of investment banking and money management. He is most widely known as co-founder of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group (NYSE: FBR) in 1989, a top-10 investment bank. Ramsey was co-founder, president, and co-chief executive officer at FBR through 2001 and maintains an ongoing role as a shareholder and member of its board of directors. In 2001 Ramsey founded Ramsey Asset Management, a hedge fund manager based in the Washington, D.C., area, where he is chairman, CEO, and CIO. He also sits on the board of JER Investors Trust and the National Geographic Council of Advisors.
Ramsey joined GW's Board of Trustees in 1998 and has served as vice chairman of the board and chairman of the investment and the real estate committees. He also has chaired several special committees such as those for the presidential search and Square 54. Over the last three years he has overseen the creation and staffing of GW's world-class investment office led by Donald Lindsey. At the end of 2006, the University's endowment surpassed the $1-billion mark driven in large part by its three-year annualized investment return of 18.33 percent. At the end of fiscal year 2006, GW's endowment earned the 7th highest one-year investment return out of the 750 university endowments tracked by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
In his role as chairman of the presidential search committee, Ramsey oversaw a 14-member working group comprising trustees, faculty, alumni, and student representatives who considered more than 100 candidates for GW's presidency and within seven months unanimously selected Dr. Steven Knapp, provost of Johns Hopkins University. The process also included forums for the GW community and neighbors led by Trustee Nelson Carbonell, B.S. '85, which provided invaluable input to the position requirements and contributed to the broad base of support for Knapp.
As chairman of the real estate committee Ramsey oversaw the development and analysis of alternatives for the redevelopment of Square 54, a significant strategic financial asset for the University, in order to maximize the financial resources available to the University. The D.C. Zoning Commission approved proposed action on the Planned Unit Development (PUD) application associated with the 20-year Foggy Bottom Campus Plan on Feb. 5, 2007. The commission is scheduled to take proposed action on the PUD application to develop Square 54 for mixed-use commercial purposes at its Feb. 12 meeting. Final action on both PUD applications and the remainder of the Campus Plan is expected in March.
"GW has made significant progress under Chairman Chuck Manatt's leadership. I would like to thank him for his 27 years of dedicated service to our alma mater," said Ramsey. "I also want to thank President Trachtenberg for his many important contributions to GW over the last 19 years. I look forward to working with President-Elect Steven Knapp, the board, and administrators to help move GW into the top tier of universities by further capitalizing on its strengths and its location in the heart of D.C."
Manatt said, "I offer my congratulations to Russ and the next generation of leaders for The George Washington University. Russ should be commended for the critical role he has played in helping the University surpass the $1-billion threshold in our endowment and in the selection of the 16th president of GW, Dr. Steven Knapp. I also commend Russ for his leadership in the investment policies of our University's endowment. As chairman of our investment committee and under the direction of Don Lindsey, our endowment return was 7th highest in the country last year among university endowments. That is truly a remarkable achievement, and one for which we are deeply indebted to Russ and Don. With Russ' leadership acumen, GW will continue to flourish and enlarge its strategic goals in the future."
GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said, "In the nearly 10 years Russ has served as a trustee, he has consistently and zealously demonstrated his dedication to GW. He has played an important role on many committees in helping define the vision of the University, including our 20-year Campus Plan, which will further transform the Foggy Bottom Campus into a premier urban institution with first-class facilities, faculty, and students. I offer my appreciation to Chairman Manatt and all of the trustees for establishing the foundation upon which the incoming leadership can continue to build the University's prestige."
Elections were held during Friday's board meeting. In addition to the chairman, the new board officers are Vice Chairwoman Lydia Thomas, Ph.D., who also served as vice chairwoman of the presidential search committee and is chairwoman of the academic affairs committee and president and CEO of Mitretek Systems; Vice Chairman Nelson A. Carbonell, Jr., B.S. '85, who also served on the presidential search committee and is chairman of the advancement committee, chairman of the task force on advancement, and president and chairman of Snowbird Capital; Secretary Patricia Gurne, J.D. '69, partner in Gurne Porter, PLLC; and Assistant Secretary I. Allan From, B.B.A. '72, who also is chairman of the student affairs committee and shareholder in Howard, Stallings, From & Hutson, P.A. Each member of the executive committee will serve a one-year term. Nominations for the open positions on the 2007-2008 GW Board of Trustees were announced at the October 13, 2006, board meeting. Nominations closed January 10, 2007. New members to the board assume their roles on July 1, 2007.
Ramsey attended The George Washington University School of Business on a baseball scholarship and earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1981. He was a starter all four years and MVP and captain of the team in his senior year when he broke the GW record for most bases stolen in a season, previously held by Sam Perlozzo, B.S. '73, and now manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Ramsey was inducted into GW's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and was an honorable-mention member of its All-Century Baseball Team.
Ramsey and his wife Norma are strong supporters of GW and have given generously to the School of Business' finance programs and athletic teams. In 2005, the Ramseys donated $1 million to the University endowment to establish the Ramsey Student Investment Fund. This investment portfolio, which returned 12.4 percent in FY 2006, is managed by GW MBA students in the Applied Portfolio Management course. In addition to the financial gift, Ramsey and his firm provide research support and investment expertise to students who are selected to manage the fund.
Ramsey is a native Washingtonian. He and his wife Norma with their four children live in Northern Virginia. The Ramseys are founding investors of Venture Philanthropy Partners which has invested nearly $70 million in nonprofits in the D.C. Capital Area over the last five years by helping community leaders build strong non-profit institutions. Through the W. Russell and Norma G. Ramsey Foundation they are actively committed to philanthropic causes dedicated to at-risk families through education and health programs. The Ramsey Foundation has funded four-year scholarships for the D.C. Capital Area's Big Brothers Big Sisters and supports Knock Out Abuse Against Women, Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Potomac School, Fight Night, Fight for Children, and the Inova Health System. Ramsey serves on the Virginia Governor's Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates and has served on the Governor's Commission on Information Technology, as a trustee for the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, and is a founding member of One Virginia.
Located four blocks from the White House, The George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the nation's capital. The University offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business, and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 120 countries.
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