University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg is not the only administrator departing from GW at the end of this semester. Several other administrators including Executive Director of University Events Jim Hess, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Scott Mory, Director of Housing Programs James Kohl and Vice President and General Counsel Dennis Blumer are also ending their careers in Foggy Bottom.
Executive Director of University Events Jim Hess will leave at the end of this year to become the director of Alumni and Community Affairs at Grinnell College in Iowa. Hess started at GW in 1989 in the Campus Activities Office, now known as the Student Activities Center, and has been with University Events since 1998.
Hess’ job was to coordinate a variety of school events, including Commencement weekend, Freshman Convocation and George Washington’s annual birthday celebration.
“I love the variation.” Hess said. “From doing events with the president of the United States outdoors on the National Mall, to doing a dedication of the raven statue in front of Old Main.”
Michael Freedman, vice president of Communications, said Hess has always vested all of his energy into planning and physically arranging University events.
“He has given his head, heart and soul, and everyone at the University is indebted to him for the way he led University Events,” Freedman said.
Hess said the University has changed very much since he first arrived on campus, and he credits that achievement to the “imagination and energy” of Trachtenberg.
“Everything that I have done here, that has made my job so enjoyable day to day, has come from the energy and passion (Trachtenberg) brought to the University,” Hess said.
Scott Mory, assistant vice president of Alumni Relations, will also leave the University and will take a similar job at the University of Southern California. Mory, 32, completed his undergraduate career at GW in 1996 and also pursued a law degree from the Law School.
Mory said he realized his passion for alumni relations work after joining the Board of Trustees in 2002, and subsequently becoming executive director of Alumni Relations.
“I love traveling around the country and the world and meeting people and hearing about why they love GW,” Mory said. “Alumni relations is all about getting to know people, helping them reconnect with their friends, with GW.”
Mory said he helped change the face of GW’s alumni program by expanding it to more people and adding new programs such as reunions and young alumni networks.
Joe Bondi, who worked alongside Mory until last year, said Mory’s impact on the University has been immense.
“He has really taken alumni programs from five to 60 in an unbelievable amount of time,” Bondi said. “And he has done that all through his desire to see GW become a better place.”
Mory said although he will miss the campus where he has spent the last 15 years, he plans to keep in contact with people at GW as an alumnus.
James Kohl, director of Housing Programs, will move back to New England after five years working at GW. Kohl began working at the University in 2002 as the director of Freshman Services.
He said he has been impressed with the University’s openness to new, innovative ideas. Kohl said during his tenure, the housing office has gone through a lot of changes.
Within GW Housing Programs, Kohl’s concentration was house life, where he aided in the constant evolution of the living and learning communities, as well as the development of new staff and resident programs.
Kohl said GW Housing Programs often serves as an example for other universities, mostly because of the practice of placing students in interest-based communities and involving students in the housing process.
“The residential environment is a great place for students to develop skills,” Kohl said.
“Kohl said he is pursuing his doctorate in educational policy and leadership at the University of Maryland and plans to continue to spend his career in student services.
“I’ve been telling some friends that this move is purely about relocating closer to family. If GW were some place in New England, I’d never leave,” Kohl said.
One of the University’s top officials, Dennis Blumer stepped down as vice president and general counsel for GW in February. William Howard, who had been GW’s Deputy General Counsel for several years, replaced him. Blumer left to become a partner at Arent Fox, LLP, a Washington law firm.
Blumer began at GW in 1995 when Trachtenberg created the Office of the General Counsel, according to a University news release. He was GW’s first vice president and general counsel.
During his tenure at GW, Blumer oversaw the legal aspects of everything from international affairs to real estate and has witnessed the office grow in size and influence, according to the release. He often helped provide legal guidance to the Board of Trustees and the administration.
Blumer did not respond to several attempts by The Hatchet to contact him as of presstime.
“I am fortunate to have been involved with GW during a time of great growth and development,” Blumer said in the release. “I appreciated the confidence of President Trachtenberg, Chairman Manatt, the trustees and my colleagues in the administration.”