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August 1, 2007

Media Contact: Tracy Schario



Distinguished Scholar, ADministrator, Community Leader

Dr. Steven Knapp BEGINS TENURE AS GW's 16th President


WASHINGTON - The George Washington University begins a new era today in welcoming Dr. Steven Knapp as its 16th president. As he entered Rice Hall, President Knapp was greeted by a festive balloon wreath and moving boxes signaling the arrival of new leadership.


"I am honored and humbled to be the 16th president of GW, a university with a rich heritage and a bright future," said Knapp. "This University is poised to establish itself as the intellectual center of the nation's capital, as well as an international leader in higher education.  I look forward to engaging our faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees, partners, and neighbors in advancing the University's mission of serving the District, the nation, and the world."


Knapp will meet with vice presidents and deans today. On Friday, he will engage in a walking tour of the Foggy Bottom Campus visiting the University Police Department, Office of the Dean of Students, and coaches and staff at the Charles E. Smith Athletic Center. These visits represent the first in a series of "listening" sessions that President Knapp will conduct throughout the fall on GW's campuses.  Upcoming University events include the Colonial Community Ice Cream Social on Kogan Plaza, Aug. 9, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Opening Convocation, Sept. 3, at 2:00 p.m. in the Charles E. Smith Athletic Center; and Faculty Assembly, Sept. 10, at 3:00 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium. President Knapp and his wife Diane also will assist students moving into GW residence halls on Sept. 1.


            Nov. 13-16, 2007, will mark the formal celebration of this new chapter in GW's history during a week-long series of events and activities. The culminating event will be the inauguration of Dr. Knapp as GW's 16th president Nov. 16. More information about the schedule of events is available at  


            Knapp brings nearly 30 years of higher education experience and an impressive record of academic, fund-raising, and leadership accomplishments. Most recently, he was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs of The Johns Hopkins University. Knapp joined The Johns Hopkins University in 1994 as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and had served since 1996 as provost. As chief academic officer, Knapp coordinated the work of the nine Hopkins schools and developed strategies for regional, national, and international growth. Knapp was actively engaged in fundraising, including an on-going $3.2-billion capital campaign. In 1994 he launched a capital campaign for Arts and Sciences that eventually yielded $230 million and a named benefactor for the school. Initiatives he either introduced or brought to fruition during his years at Johns Hopkins include a university-wide office of institutional equity, the Urban Health Institute, an undergraduate degree in neuroscience, the Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Carey Business School, and centers for student arts and recreation.  Also, along with Johns Hopkins University President William R. Brody, he established a Commission on Undergraduate Education that resulted in significant new initiatives in the areas of student life and diversity.


Knapp joined Johns Hopkins after 16 years on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he held many leadership positions in its Department of English, which included 60 faculty, 1,000 undergraduates, and 250 doctoral students. He is a specialist in 18th- and 19th-century English literature and literary theory, has written two books and numerous articles, and has lectured across the country. He earned his doctorate from Cornell University in 1981 after receiving a master's degree there in 1977 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1973. He and his wife Diane have a farm in Sparks, Md., and reside in the Foggy Bottom/West End neighborhood. They have two adult children, Jesse and Sarah.


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 130 countries.


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