The University board of trustees elected Charles T. Manatt, former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, as its new chairman Friday. Manatt, who also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1981 to 1985, will replace current chair Sheldon S. Cohen July 1.
“(Manatt) has provided persistent and robust service,” GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said.
As chairman, Manatt is responsible for the statutory functions of the board and will preside over meetings. Trachtenberg said Manatt will be the “lay-leadership” of the University outlining the University’s goals, compared to Trachtenberg’s “professional leadership.”
The board of trustees, which meets four times a year, creates the policy the administration executes, Trachtenberg said.
Manatt graduated from GW Law School in 1962 and served as ambassador to the Dominican Republic from 1999 until March 2001.
After joining the board of trustees in 1980, Manatt chaired the Capital Campaign, the University’s campaign to raise $500 million to provide resources for faculty and students and enhance campus facilities. With Manatt as chairman, Trachtenberg said he hopes the University will raise the remaining $130 million for GW to reach its goal.
“He’s got a proven track record,” Trachtenberg said. Manatt’s experience in the DNC and the Dominican Republic will contribute to the University’s fundraising efforts, he said.
Chairs are elected for one-year terms and traditionally serve a total of three to six years, Trachtenberg said.