W. Russell Ramsey: A great time to be at GW

The happenings of this academic year, now only in its ninth week, should remind us all of why it is a great time to be at GW. The dynamic speakers and other events that fill our campus venues, the engagement of our faculty in teaching and research, and certainly the enthusiasm and energy of our students inside and outside the classroom provide tangible proof of the excitement we all feel as members of the GW community. Simply put, our campus is alive with enthusiasm, energy and a starry-eyed, wide-eyed optimism that anything can be accomplished.

Optimism and enthusiasm are exactly what we need now, as we aspire to transform GW into a preeminent, world-class research university. The Board of Trustees remains committed to providing the necessary guidance and support to ensure that this transformation is successful. First and foremost, we seek to ensure that a GW education is as affordable as possible. Through our efforts to limit increases in tuition and other costs, we are seeing tangible progress in managing the cost of attendance relative to our peer institutions. Furthermore, we are taking a leadership role in raising funds for student aid, like the scholarship that made it possible for me to attend GW. This is our responsibility as stewards of this great University, and it is one we take very seriously.

Over the months ahead the Board of Trustees is also looking forward to supporting the work of the Innovation Task Force that President Knapp recently launched. We expect that this effort, which is already well underway thanks to the dedication of a team of faculty, staff and students, will generate a host of new ideas that will free up resources that can be invested in academic priorities. We encourage all members of the University community to bring their best thinking to the table in support of the task force’s efforts.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to be an active participant in GW’s Celebration of Service. We honored a GW alumna, Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth, with the inaugural Colin Powell Public Service Award, named in honor of a great American hero and another proud graduate of GW. It was a magical evening that reminded me, and all in attendance, of the special role that GW is poised to play in developing and encouraging the next generation of our world’s leaders. In the most immediate sense, it also reminded the Board of Trustees of our own commitment to service. As a result, at our last meeting the board voted unanimously that each trustee would perform a minimum of 60 hours of community service in response to Mrs. Obama’s challenge, and that we would continue that same commitment in years to come.

I join with my fellow trustees in affirming both our continued commitment to GW and our role in facilitating the transformation that is so central to the continued excellence of our beloved University.

The writer is a 1981 graduate of The George Washington University and chairman of the Board of Trustees.

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