University President Steven Knapp will be absent from three out of five Colonial Inaugurations this summer due to business travel, the president confirmed in June.
Trips to Morocco and New York, as well as meetings with potential donors will make him unavailable during three of the freshman orientation programs.
Instead of greeting the incoming freshmen in person for the first, second and third CIs, Knapp will address students via a prerecorded video, he said. The video has two parts.
"In the first [part], I welcome our new students to campus and tell them a little about the history and role of the F Street House," he said in an e-mail while in Morocco. "Then I give a talk that is essentially the same one I would give if I were there in person, stressing the need to balance enjoyment of all the wonderful opportunities Washington has to offer with engagement in the life of our community on campus. I also stress the importance of getting to know faculty personally."
GW has a partnership with Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, and Knapp keynoting the school's Commencement Ceremony. Knapp is also a member of that university's Board of Trustees. This is the first time Knapp has visited the university, he said.
"[The partnership] is an important part of GW's global outreach," Knapp said. "This trip is an opportunity to strengthen our ties both with AUI and with a very significant part of the world."
Colonial Inauguration began this year on June 15, with CI 1 running until June 17. CI 2 is from June 21 to 23, CI 3 is from June 25 to 27 and CI 4 is from June 30 to July 2. Starting on August 25 there is a three-day CI for transfer and international students.
Originally, University spokeswoman Candace Smith said Knapp would be absent from the three CIs because of an off-campus Board of Trustees retreat and a service panel. The University's highest governing body annually goes on retreat each summer. This year's retreat starts on June 16 and goes until the 18. Knapp will also be traveling to New York City to speak at a service conference where he is "the only University president on a prestigious panel," Smith said.
The National Conference on Volunteering and Service is held from June 28 to 30, between the second and third CI. Smith later added that meetings with potential donors and preparations for the conference will make him unavailable during CI 2 and 3.
"As he has done in the past, if his schedule changes and he has the opportunity to attend the second and third sessions he will do so," Smith said.
Since Knapp's first Colonial Inauguration in 2008, he has attended eight out of 11 programs. In 2008 and 2009, Knapp missed the CI's due to Board activities.
"I often have reason to travel on University business during the weeks following Commencement (in contrast to the extremely busy period that precedes Commencement), and that's why, each year, I have had to give some of my CI talks via video rather than in person," Knapp said. "But I look forward to the many opportunities I will have to get to know the entering class: convocation, move-in day, the freshman barbecue, and many other events."