Board of Trustees elects nine new members

The University’s Board of Trustees added nine new members Friday afternoon, including a major Hollywood actress and a specialist on American foreign policy.

Actress Kerry Washington; adviser to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, Christopher Bright; former Acting Navy Secretary B.J. Penn; J. Richard Knop, co-founder of the Windsor Group, LLC; clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine Stuart Kassan; Chairman of the Board at the Center for National Policy Peter Kovler; President of Forest City Washington – a national real estate firm – Deborah Ratner Salzberg; former Vice Chairman of the Securities Division at Goldman Sachs & Co. George Wellde; and President and Chief Executive Officer of Tufts Medical Center Ellen Zane.

All the incoming trustees are alumni except Kovler. In an interview with The Hatchet, Washington – who appeared in “The Last King of Scotland” and “Ray” – said GW was instrumental in shaping her professional career and that serving as a trustee is her way to give back.

“Because The George Washington University is a really important part of who I am as a professional,” Washington said, referring to why she joined the Board. “It’s an important part of how I do what I do and it’s very important to participate.”

She said it was “early” to say what she hopes to accomplish during her tenure but added that “it is a real honor to serve.”

At the Board meeting, the outgoing trustees were honored by Board Chairman Russell Ramsey and Assistant Secretary to the Board William Carnago. Vice Chairman Lydia Thomas and Trustee Michele Hagans were not present, but Carnago lauded the pair’s commitment to the Board. Alumni Trustee Zoe Beckerman was praised for her commitment to students in the School of Public Health and Health Services.

Thomas’, Hagans’, Ray Oglethorpe’s, and Beckerman’s terms end this year, and long-standing Trustee Pat Gurne is set to retire. There is an additional vacancy on the Board after Alumni Trustee Jeanette Michael died last November. The election of the nine new members leaves a two-person vacancy on the Board. Beckerman said working with the SPHHS to gain recognition and financial resources have been some of her proudest accomplishments.

“I think the Board is in a terrific place with development people, skills people and money people,” she said.

The current Board consists of 24 charter trustees and seven alumni trustees. The new members begin their terms July 1.

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