The University’s top governing body elected four new members Friday as six positions were vacated by retiring trustees.
The new members said they will make diversity one of their priorities as they begin their service on the board starting July 1.
Roslyn Brock, Michael Hoffman, Madeleine Jacobs and Titilola Williams-Davies were sworn in unanimously for their first terms.
Williams-Davies, one of two trustees who graduated in the last five and a half years, said she will use her position on the board to increase cultural education in course curriculum.
“I’m looking at making our University more global, but in less obvious ways,” William-Davies said.
She said she joined the board because she felt like she owed something to GW. Formerly a presidential administrative fellow, William-Davives received a master's degree in business administration in 2009, and now works as a management consultant and business analyst for UPD Consulting.
“To be here now is a little surreal,” she said, “I’m very excited and very ready to get to work.”
Jacobs, the executive director and CEO of the American Chemical Society, also said she is most interested in gender and diversity issues.
Brock, the youngest person to chair the National Board of Directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, could not be reached for further comment.
Hoffman, co-founder and chairman of Palamon Capital Partners, a European investment firm, said he hopes to push increases in the international student population, especially in the Elliott School of International Affairs.
“I am convinced a strong and successful international student population will help raise the global profile of the University,” Hoffman said.
The focus on diversity comes as the University’s strategic plan, scheduled for release this fall, prioritizes diversity among faculty.
The board, which makes key decisions about the University such as cost of tuition increases and the size of financial aid pools, typically includes between 28 and 43 members. University spokeswoman Candace Smith said board members are selected from a diverse pool, based on the range of qualities and experiences they bring to the table.
The candidates for trustee positions are vetted by the Board of Trustees Committee on Governance, Compensation and Nominations after their names are submitted by the Alumni Association. Nominations are then passed along to the full board for approval.
The new members will replace exiting trustees Cynthia Baker, Bobbie Greene Kilberg, Steven Roberts, David Bruce Smith, Maria Matilde de Bonetti and Omar Woodard, all of whom will leave the board June 30.
Woodard served as Student Association president in 2004 and was an advocate on the board for student life initiatives. As one of the youngest trustees, he used social media to stay connected to the student body, reaching out to alumni via Facebook to try to find his replacement as his term wound down.
Chairman Russell Ramsey said the retiring members made a positive impact on the school during their tenure, and he was grateful for their hard work.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to acknowledge these six individuals who all have served the board in a passionate and committed way. I’m pleased to call each of them a friend,” Ramsey said.
The University also honored Henry Duques, the namesake of one of Foggy Bottom’s largest academic buildings, with trustee emeritus status.
Duques received the title, largely a mark of respect, in recognition for his service on the board and contributions including the $5 million gift that built Duques Hall. The trustee was first elected to the board in 1999.