Search to start for president

GW officials said they plan to have the next University president selected by February with the help of a higher education consulting firm.

The presidential search committee met twice over the summer and is in the pre-search planning stages before officially launching the search next month, said chair of the presidential search committee Russell Ramsey, who is also vice chairman of the Board of Trustees. Last April, University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg announced his decision to retire in July 2007, marking the end of about two decades as GW’s top administrator.

The committee hired the D.C.-based consulting firm, Academic Search Consultation Services, in mid-July. Ramsey said the search committee, with instruction from the Board of Trustees, will bring a list of candidates for the next University president to the board by January 2007. The search committee consists of nine Board of Trustees members, three University faculty members, the president of the Alumni Association and the Student Association president – a total of 14 individuals.

GW will launch a Web site with information about the presidential search at presidentialsearch.gwu.edu, and an advertisement for the open position will be printed in the September 1 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Ramsey said.

“GW seeks a leader who has a profound commitment to academic excellence; a demonstrated ability to raise funds in support of academic programs, scholarships, and endowment; a proven record of community and national leadership; and the ability to build partnerships on behalf of the institution,” Ramsey wrote in an e-mail last week about qualities the search committee is looking for in the next president.

Media Relations Director Tracy Schario said maintaining confidentiality while fielding applicants is essential to a successful search process. The individuals interested in applying for such a position often do not wish to disclose their interest in a new job to their current employers.

“We intend to maintain confidentiality at all stages of this process,” Schario said.

James Ferrare, one of the consultants from Academic Search Consultation Services, said there are numerous factors involved in choosing a university president. He said the next president should have academic credibility the students and faculty can respect, be a competent fundraiser and be confident and comfortable in community relations, not only in Foggy Bottom issues but also being able to represent GW on a national and international scale.

Last week Trachtenberg said the job of GW president is “one of the half dozen best jobs for a university president in America in the current season.”

Ferrare said the job of GW’s top administrator is attractive because of the location of the school in the nation’s capital, the outlook for continued improvement, having well-recognized undergraduate and graduate programs, and having a solid financial base.

“It’s one of the better presidencies available this year,” Ferrare said.

Trachtenberg said the most important quality for the next University president is to have a vision for the future.

“What you want is leadership and vision,” Trachtenberg said. “You can hire technicians and vice presidents for development, but people give money to ideas; that’s what excites people.

“They give money to quality – to the idea that will enhance the University. Raising funding for universities is not the same as selling aluminum siding.”

-Jessica Calefati contributed to this report.

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