Where in the world is Stephen Joel Trachtenberg?
It’s another day and another journey for GW’s out-going president. Trachtenberg has embarked on a world-wide tour, meeting with alums, highlighting changes to the University that have taken place over his tenure and raising some money along the way.
The president has already made stops in New York City visiting with 600 people, 300 in Boston and Philadelphia, 60 in London, 30 in Madrid and 30 in Hong Kong – all last semester. Trachtenberg also delivered the Sir George Watson Lecture at Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington’s family in England in November.
This farewell tour has also taken on another dimension.
“Although these are not fundraising events per se, we are taking the opportunity to inform alumni that there is a special effort underway to honor (President Trachtenberg) through the creation of a University Professor of Public Service,” said Gene Finn, associate vice president for advancement, in an e-mail.
Trachtenberg, who announced that his term as president would be ending last spring, will assume the role of a professor of public service when he steps down as president July 31. When Trachtenberg retires from teaching, the professorship will be renamed in honor of him, Finn added.
“The goal is to raise $3 million for the professorship, of which more than $2 million has already been raised,” Finn said.
“It’s not like you’re playing an armed bandit in Las Vegas,” Trachtenberg said. He instead referred to fundraising as a courtship that must be nurtured and maintained. “People generally have been very generous,” he added.
Donations have continually been on the rise since Trachtenberg’s term as University president began 19 years ago. When he assumed GW’s top post in 1988, GW was receiving $12 million annually in donations. Last year the University received $62 million, according to the Office of Advancement.
GW announced this week that as of December 31st, the endowment had broken $1 billion.
Cities that Trachtenberg will be visiting this semester include Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Baltimore. There will also be a reception in D.C. in May.
For Trachtenberg, traveling the world has been a pleasure: “I’m having a good time seeing a lot of old friends and making new ones.”