Board of Trustees chairman discusses goals

Russell Ramsey, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said he wants to work on increasing GW’s endowment, decreasing tution and improving alumni relations during his tenure as the head of GW’s highest governing body.

“I want to see us work on our tuition challenges,” Ramsey said. “We want to make sure that this is a place where all students can come.”

Ramsey began his three-year term as chairman in July, succeeding Charles Manatt. A 1981 graduate with bachelor’s degree in business administration, Ramsey came to GW on a baseball scholarship. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1998.

“GW changed my life,” Ramsey said.

In 1989 he co-founded the Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group, a top 10 investment bank. In 2001 he founded Ramsey Asset Management, where he is now the chairman and CEO. Ramsey said influencing alumni to stay connected with the University is one of his major goals as chairman.

“I want to reinforce the idea of GW as a lifelong community,” he said.

Ramsey is also looking to increase student involvement with the Board. He invited 10 students to the chairman’s dinner Thursday night, a first for the body. The Board is also hosting a series of town hall meetings this year, including a meeting that will focus on student concerns.

Ramsey said, “The Board’s role is to be an overseer.but also to be a cheerleader and a passionate supporter of the University.”

Increasing the transparency of the Board of Trustees, possibly through an increased Web presence, is also a goal of the Board.

“We want everyone to feel they know how the University is governed,” he said.

He said he still finds time to come back to GW to see speakers such as Al Gore, Quincy Jones, Soledad O’Brien and Katie Couric.

Ramsey credits his involvement in GW after graduation to the efforts of administrators such as former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, who approached him after he founded the investment bank in 1989.

“They laid out a vision of why I should get involved,” he said.

Ramsey and his wife, Norma, have donated money to support athletics and the School of Business. In 2005 they donated $1 million to establish the Ramsey Student Investment Fund, an investment portfolio managed by MBA students.

University President Steven Knapp said Ramsey, a native of D.C. who now lives with his wife and four children in northern Virginia, knows many people in the area and has a good understanding of the community. Knapp also praised Ramsey’s background in business.

Knapp added, “We have a lot of shared values.”

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