Robert Chernak’s office walls are plastered with Boston sports memorabilia, GW apparel and personal mementos. It’s always been a place where students feel free to speak about their concerns, seek his advice or share a suggestion.
This unique office represents a noteworthy individual whose relationship with the University began before some of us were even born – a senior administrator who has a strikingly laid-back and easy-going demeanor, someone who was always willing to have a frank and open conversation with students.
But after 24 years of service to the University, one of the student body’s enduring allies has decided to retire.
Chernak’s down-to-earth personality has allowed him to keep the pulse of student concerns. He trusts and respects students. Conversations with Chernak are never a one-way street – he is always willing to listen and to take any issues or concerns to heart. To Chernak, all students are mishpocheh.
And he is never afraid to wrestle with other top administrators in advocating for student causes.
His ability to be a constant supporter for students is critical at a University that often hides behind an opaque public relations cloak, which can distance the institution from students. While administrators often are guarded and vet their comments to the media and students, Chernak has always carried himself with a refreshing candor.
And while we will surely still see Chernak in his usual seat at basketball games – where he was once spotted rocking Ugg boots and argyle, redefining winter style – and will hear his unmistakable laugh on the street as he continues on as a professor, his retirement represents a tremendous loss for administration.
Whoever is Chernak’s eventual successor will have big shoes to fill.
And even though his distinctive office decorations will be gone, hopefully his legacy will remain.