Five new GW Board of Trustees members, who were appointed by the group in June, will begin their positions under the leadership of re-elected chairman Charles Manatt.
Manatt, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was chosen for a three-year term during the board’s election this summer. GW alumni Richard Blackburn, Mark Shenkman, Maria Bonetti, Allan From and Christy McDonnell are joining the board, which provides governance and counsel on the University’s management and direction. The alumni replace five outgoing members, among them Jean Fugett, a former Washington Redskins player.
“I’m very excited that I can be part of the great success of the University and I look forward to being very involved,” said Shenkman, a 1967 graduate of the School of Business. He previously served on the school’s board of advisors.
Shenkman said he was glad to join the board at a time of growth and expansion for GW.
“Under (University President Stephen Joel) Trachtenberg’s leadership, the school has advanced in every facet of development,” he said, citing facilities such as the new School of Business building, which is under construction and will be completed by 2006.
From, a 1972 Business School graduate, said he has been an active member of the University for the past 15 years, conducting admissions interviews and recruiting students at college fairs.
“I want to do whatever I can to make the school a better place and to keep it going on an upward plane,” said From, who served as president of the GW Parents Association from 2001 to 2002.
From, whose daughter, Courtney, graduated from GW in 2003, joked that changes at the University since his graduation would make getting accepted to the school nearly impossible if he applied today.
“Obviously the school is much improved all the way around, both facility-wise and its reputation,” he said.
When considering prospective members, the board looks at a variety of criteria, including an individual’s alumni status and contributions to GW. In addition to electing new trustees, the group also chose a new chairperson and new members for the board’s executive committee.
Manatt, a 1962 GW Law School graduate and trustee since 1980, was elected to a three-year term as chairman, a position previously marked by yearly elections.
“(The board) made a lot of improvements and modernizations on our bylaws,” said Manatt, speaking of the new term length. “I’m perfectly happy, and I look forward to serving for the next three years.”
The 2004 board is the first to operate under these regulations, set at a meeting last fall. Tracy Schario, GW’s director of Media Relations, said the new tenure policy allows trustees to serve two three-year terms as chairman.
As the board’s chairman, Manatt is responsible for presiding over its four yearly meetings. He said he looks forward to “good visits” with Trachtenberg.
Manatt, who chaired the DNC from 1981 to 1985 and served as ambassador to the Dominican Republic from 1999 to 2001, said he enjoys his work at the University and is proud to serve as board chairman.
“I think it’s the best way one personally can serve higher education,” he said.
Manatt added that his goals for the next three years involve improving the University’s extracurricular activities, academics and living environment.