Michael Freedman: Farewell to the GW community

To the GW community:

After 16 wonderful years at GW, the last 11 as vice president for communications, a professor of journalism and director of the GW Global Media Institute, I will be leaving the University in January.

I have been offered and have accepted a senior vice presidency and professorial appointment at the University of Maryland University College.

Over these many years, I have had the honor and privilege of working with the best and the brightest students, faculty and administrators.

I have been given the creative latitude to develop programs like “The Kalb Report,” to launch collaborations with POLITICO Tony Bennett, the Newseum and the National Press Club, to negotiate and manage the partnership that brought CNN’s “Crossfire” to GW and to oversee commencement’s move to the National Mall.

Most importantly, I have been given the opportunity to help the next generation of journalists learn the skills and ethics that will allow a strong and vibrant free press to thrive in our democracy and around the world in the years to come.

One of the highlights of my new position will be the opportunity to develop online academic programs for mid-career journalists and others in the media who still have much to contribute but find themselves challenged in the digital world. These are my contemporaries, the people with the journalistic skills that are so important to pass on to the next generation – your generation.

Suffice it to say, GW is deeply embedded in my heart and soul. My wife Renee and I are the proud parents of three GW graduates. Our son Brian was president of the GW Psychology Honors Society. Our son Danny and daughter-in-law Ang met in a sixth floor study lounge of Thurston Hall as freshmen. The superb staff of GW Hospital helped me overcome two life threatening illnesses. And I count as lifelong mentors former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and my dear friend and partner Marvin Kalb.

To have gone from a little boy with a transistor radio under my pillow to general manager of CBS Radio Network was my dream come true. The last 11 years at GW have been the bonus of a lifetime. Of all the titles I have held, the one of which I am most proud is professor. My favorite place on this campus is the classroom.

Right now, it’s time to give something back to my profession and to contribute in a different way. So, I’m off on a new adventure in what has been a truly wonderful life. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Michael Freedman is a School of Media and Public Affairs professor and the executive director of the GW Global Media Institute.

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