Bortz looks back on GW, forward to Hampden-Sydney

Walter Bortz, GW vice president for Administrative and Information Services, is returning to his roots as he departs GW for a small Virginia college.

“I am a product of a small, liberal arts college,” said Bortz, a graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia. He said he believes his influence could be greatest in such an environment.

Bortz will leave the urban setting of GW next spring to become the president of Hampden-Sydney College, an all-male liberal arts school 60 miles from Richmond, Va. Hampden-Sydney officially announced Bortz’s departure from GW last Thursday.

“I can know all of the students and all of the faculty,” he said.

Serving as one of GW’s vice presidents for a decade, Bortz helped improve computer technology. He said the University put together a “rather significant plan,” including re-wiring the entire campus. GW is as technologically advanced as any college campus, he said.

During his remaining time in Foggy Bottom, Bortz said he will work to promote uniformity in all of GW’s technology. He said by doing this students can better use resources, professors can incorporate computer technology into their lessons and administrators can perform their tasks with state-of-the-art equipment.

Bortz said his other duties at GW include working on publications for both ongoing functions and special events, as well as working in human resources.

“Most of what I do is ongoing,” he said.

Bortz said he does not anticipate any new assignments for the academic year, unless GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg chooses to give him a new task.

Bortz said one of the projects in which he is involved is “making sure that we culminate the year with a wonderful graduation ceremony on the Ellipse.”

Bortz, who also worked with Trachtenberg at the University of Hartford, said he would like to think he had a role in Trachtenberg’s efforts to increase GW’s visibility.

Bortz said while he found it difficult to compare a large, urban campus like GW to the “660 beautiful, rolling acres” of Hampden-Sydney, what goes on in their classrooms in many respects is similar.

At the smaller school, he said, faculty is probably more accessible to students – going to a smaller school is “a much closer and much more concentrated experience.”

Bortz said he is looking forward to “being an important part of a small diverse community” and “participating with faculty and students in the ongoing life of a college.”

But he said he will miss the GW community.

“I’m going to miss the students the most,” Bortz said. He called GW students “bright” and “constantly in motion.”

“You look forward to sending some Hampden-Sydney graduates up here to do grad work,” Bortz added.

As president of Hampden-Sydney, Bortz said he will oversee faculty and staff and contribute to the board of trustees. The president of a school tries to “get everybody on the same page,” he said.

Bortz will try to bring some of his experience in technology to his new position, he said. Hampden-Sydney is moving “up another rung” with its highest enrollment ever and Bortz said he plans to work to incorporate technology into classrooms and look for new ways to teach the curriculum.

“And of course there’s always fund raising, lots of fund raising,” he said.

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