Former Capitol Hill aide heads Media Relations

GW added two old names and a former Capitol Hill insider to its University Relations office this year to replace former Media Relations Director Barbara Porter and increase GW’s visibility across the nation.

New Director of Media Relations Gretchen King and Assistant Director Bob Ludwig will handle Porter’s responsibilities. Porter left the office to work with the GW Medical Center.

Vice President of Communications Mike Freedman will oversee the entire office.

King graduated from the University of Michigan in 1991 with a political science degree.

Following graduation she moved to D.C., hoping to become a press secretary on Capitol Hill.

In 1992 she began working for U.S. House Democratic Whip David Bonior (Mich.) and later became his press secretary, a job she held until February 1999.

After leaving her position at Bonior’s office, King worked as the director of development and communications for the U.S. division of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

The biggest reason I left (Capitol Hill) was because I was ready to jump in and learn something new, King said. I love to learn. I love a new challenge – that’s just part of who I am.

She said the tremendous energy of GW students drew her to Foggy Bottom.

One of the things that attracted me to GW is that the University truly has vision, and yes, it’s growing and changing . but it’s a positive change in terms of the campus plan, King said.

She said she is excited to witness the growth of the University.

You want to be part of an institution that is dynamic that has a commitment to excellence, King said. Naturally there will be some growing pains along the way . but for the most part you can come up with a win-win situation.

The University created Bob Ludwig’s position – assistant director of Media Relations – after reassessing the basic function of the office, said Sandy Holland, assistant vice president of University Relations.

The main focus of our office is to enhance GW’s positive visibility, which we do through media relations, Holland said.

Ludwig served as a public affairs specialist for the University from 1994 until early 1999.

After leaving GW, Ludwig worked for two years in the press office at the National Academy of Sciences, a non-profit organization that advises the federal government on scientific and technological matters.

I left GW for the opportunity to work at NAS and develop my skills further, Ludwig said. It was exciting, but I also thought it would be exciting to come back and work with students.

Previously, Ludwig helped bring the taping of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and the PBS show Firing Line to GW. He also produced GW’s Washington Forum, a public affairs radio program.

In the early 1990s Ludwig worked as an associate editor of By George!. and in GW’s Sports Information office.

Bob is a talented professional with a great attitude and a true affection for GW, said Mike Freedman, vice president of Communications. He is well-liked and respected by his colleagues at the University and in the media.

Freedman also returned to GW this year after spending two years as general manager of CBS Radio. Before working at CBS he spent six years as GW’s director of public affairs and served as executive producer of GW’s Washington Forum.

-Jason Steinhardt contributed to this report.

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