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December 5, 2006

Tracy Schario: (202) 994-3566;
Matt Lindsay: (202) 994-1423;


Distinguished Scholar, Fundraiser, Community Leader Will Take Office August 1, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The George Washington University Board of Trustees is pleased to announce its selection of Dr. Steven Knapp, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs of The Johns Hopkins University, as GW's 16th president. Knapp brings nearly 30 years of higher education experience and an impressive record of academic, fund-raising, and leadership accomplishments. He will assume office August 1, 2007, succeeding GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who will become President Emeritus and University Professor of Public Service when his current term concludes in the summer of 2007.

"Steven Knapp possesses academic and research expertise, an exemplary fund-raising background, entrepreneurial spirit, and institutional, civic, and international leadership abilities that will help GW achieve the next level of success," said W. Russell Ramsey, B.A. '81, vice chair of the GW Board of Trustees and chairman of the presidential search committee. "The fact that Steve was the unanimous choice of the search committee speaks volumes about his credentials, especially given the tremendous interest in this position and the outstanding, diverse pool of candidates. We firmly believe we have found a very special successor to President Trachtenberg, one who shares the University's vision and who will add to its prestige and reputation."

Knapp joined The Johns Hopkins University in 1994 as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and has served since 1996 as provost. Johns Hopkins is the nation's largest research university with $1.5 billion in federally sponsored research expenditures and also is Maryland's largest private employer. As chief academic officer, Knapp coordinates the work of the eight Hopkins schools and develops strategies for regional, national, and international growth. Knapp is actively engaged in fundraising, including an on-going $3.2-billion capital campaign, and he launched in 1994 a capital campaign for Arts and Sciences that eventually yielded $230 million and a named benefactor for the school. His leadership accomplishments include the establishment of a university-wide equal opportunity and affirmative action office, a new fund for "target of opportunity" professorships, an undergraduate degree in neuroscience, the Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute, the addition of an international research institute to the university's campus in Nanjing, China, and a $20-million student arts center. Also, along with Hopkins President William R. Brody, he established a Commission on Undergraduate Education that has resulted in significant new initiatives in the areas of student life and diversity.
"It's an honor and a privilege to assume the responsibilities of president of The George Washington University," said Knapp. "It is also humbling to follow Steve Trachtenberg, whose leadership during his remarkable tenure has transformed the GW campus and propelled the University to international acclaim.  Thanks to his extraordinary achievements, GW is now poised to advance into the first rank of American research universities and to play a uniquely powerful role in shaping the future of higher education.  I look forward to working with our entire University community - faculty, students, staff, trustees, alumni, and neighbors - in moving the institution forward, building its academic excellence and drawing on its historic strengths and its unrivaled location in the heart of the nation's capital."

While at Hopkins, Knapp expanded the position of provost and assigned a special priority to the university's role in the Baltimore region and, more widely, in the national and international communities. He organized an Urban Health Council to develop an effective university and health system response to public health problems in inner-city Baltimore, which resulted in the creation of the five-year-old Urban Health Institute. During his tenure, Hopkins created a director of city relations in its office of government affairs to address town-gown issues, including safety and student behavior, and Knapp has been engaged with the City of Baltimore on a wide range of issues.

Knapp has served for 10 years as the university's representative to the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association Board of Trustees and frequently testifies before the Maryland General Assembly. Knapp currently serves on the Maryland Governor's Advisory Committee on Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute board of directors, and he is chair of JHPIEGO Corporation. Knapp also has been actively engaged in the strategic planning and lobbying efforts of the Association of American Universities and has directed international initiatives including Johns Hopkins' expansion of its institutional presence in Italy, China, and Singapore. 

"Steven Knapp was selected following a comprehensive national search in which university presidents and administrators and civic leaders, including women and minority candidates, were nominated," said Charles T. Manatt, J.D. '62, chairman, GW Board of Trustees. "We are delighted with the results of this extremely competitive process. My thanks to chairman Russ Ramsey and the members of the search committee for representing the University in a confidential and highly professional manner, which allowed for a thorough, focused, and successful search for the institution's next president. Also, very special thanks to the many members of the University community who participated in the process through our task force forums, led by Trustee Nelson Carbonell, B.S. '85, and the members of the faculty consultative committee. Also, my compliments to Academic Search, Inc., which provided expert guidance along the way. And I cannot conclude without a heartfelt thank you to President Trachtenberg for his nearly two decades of dynamic leadership that has propelled GW to unprecedented heights and has positioned the University for an even more successful future."

President Trachtenberg said, "Over the years, I've talked with thousands of parents who have expressed the wonderful, yet mixed emotions attached to sending their children off to college. Today, I begin the process of sending my University off to its next president. Like any proud parent, I am filled with joy, a little sadness, and a great sense of satisfaction for all that has been accomplished to get us to this point. That GW has attracted a candidate of the caliber of Dr. Steven Knapp is a testament to our combined efforts to help GW become one of our truly great institutions of higher education. I look forward to working with Steve in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition. And I look forward to our University's future success under his leadership."

William R. Brody, president of The Johns Hopkins University said, "I congratulate George Washington's trustees; they have made an outstanding choice. Steve Knapp has been my invaluable, indeed, essential partner in every important initiative undertaken in my 10 years at Johns Hopkins. He is a distinguished scholar, an accomplished administrator, and a creative and farsighted leader. Watch for great things from Steve and The George Washington University for many years to come."

The presidential search committee, with support from Academic Search, Inc., considered more than 100 candidates for GW's presidency. The committee sought nominees who demonstrated a profound commitment to academic excellence; entrepreneurial vision; institutional leadership, both internally and externally; a demonstrated ability to raise funds in support of academic programs, scholarships, and endowment; and a proven record of community and national leadership. The presidential search committee was announced in May 2006 and comprises nine trustees (including two alumni trustees, one emeritus trustee, and one former trustee), three faculty members, the president of the GW Alumni Association, and the president of GW Student Association.

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. 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 120 countries.

The University will hold a press conference at 2 pm, Tuesday, Dec. 5, in GW's Media and Public Affairs Building's Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st St, NW. 
Immediately following, GW will host a welcome reception for Dr. Knapp and his family in the Marc C. Abrahms Great Hall, Marvin Center, 800 21st St., NW.

For more information on GW's presidential search, please visit
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