Knapp’s contract renewed another five years

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to renew University President Steven Knapp’s contract for another five years, citing progress in the institution’s academic reputation, strategic plan and comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Knapp’s tenure now extends through July 31, 2017. His first term will end in August 2012.

“Our multitalented and very accomplished president really never ceases to amaze us,” Board of Trustees Chairman Russell Ramsey said Friday during the meeting’s open session, shortly before the Board voted to extend Knapp’s contract.

Ramsey said the extension was an internal Board decision pitched by the governance, compensation and nominations committee. The Board unanimously approved the renewal.

The Board did not consider input from students, parents or faculty before renewing Knapp’s contract, Ramsey said, as those groups were consulted during the original search process in 2007.

In his first four and a half years, the University’s 16th president hired a team of new administrators to carry out his agenda of research, fundraising and strengthening GW’s alumni network. Other initiatives include increasing diversity, sustainability and college affordability.

“Everything is aimed at continuing to raise the stature of the University,” Knapp said.

This academic year, Knapp’s administration will develop a strategic academic plan for the University, roll out the comprehensive fundraising campaign and implement a rebranding overhaul.

“I would say things have been going in a very positive direction. I think we’re moving the University forward in the ways we intended,” Knapp said last week.

Knapp, 60, joins the ranks of nine other University presidents who served terms longer than five years. At four-year private institutions like GW, 53 percent of presidents hold their positions for six years or longer, according to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The executive, who maintains an on-campus F Street residence and a sheep farm in Maryland, is a former English professor at University of California at Berkeley and provost at Johns Hopkins University.

Administrators in charge of student life, academics, finances and development widely praised the president’s progress so far.

“In the four years [Knapp] has been here we’ve moved significantly forward,” University Treasurer Lou Katz said last week.

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